You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Turkish President Says Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Was ‘Premeditated’ and ‘Very Cruel’

Turkey’s president declared Tuesday that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul was a “premeditated” act carried out after a large of team of Saudi intelligence, security and forensic personnel suddenly descended on Istanbul.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudi officials arrived in Turkey the day before Khashoggi went to the consulate Oct. 2 to do some paperwork for his upcoming marriage. The Washington Post columnist – an outspoken frequent critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – was never seen again, and the Saudi government, after repeated denials, now admits that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in what it terms a “rogue operation.”

Erdogan told Turkish lawmakers that various members of the Saudi team of more than a dozen personnel, including a military general, conducted some kind of survey of a forest near Istanbul and also disabled security cameras around the Saudi consulate before Khashoggi arrived. After his disappearance, the officials abruptly returned to Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a very cruel murder,” Erdogan said, adding: “We have all the evidence.”

Turkish officials have alleged that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered inside the consulate. However, Erdogan did not produce the secret audio or video recordings that some officials have said provide proof of how Khashoggi was killed and his body disposed of. The Saudi government says Khashoggi died after a fistfight.

After accusing the Saudis of initially obstructing Turkey’s investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, Erdogan said Tuesday he trusted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman pledge to cooperate. But he pointedly did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed, saying that the order to kill Khashoggi must have come from high up within the Saudi government. Erdogan is known to have a dim view of the crown prince and sees him as a rival for influence in the Middle East.

The Turkish leader had promised to reveal “the naked truth” about Khashoggi’s murder but fell short of that with a speech that was not as detailed or as full of new facts and evidence as analysts had expected. He said the Saudis should allow the 18 people named by the kingdom as suspects in the case to be put on trial in Turkey, but Erdogan did not offer much information beyond that already leaked by Turkish officials, especially with regards to whether the “premeditation” could be attributed all the way up to the crown prince.

Erdogan’s statement came on the same day that Saudi Arabia launched its Future Investment Initiative, a high-profile economic forum in Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital, that was to be attended by top officials and executives from around the world. But Khashoggi’s killing prompted U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and top execs from CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business, and Viacom to pull out. The forum is the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed, who was also noticeably absent when it started.

The outrage and questions over Khashoggi’s killing are jeopardizing the crown prince’s plans to reshape the Saudi economy and threatening his country’s ability to attract foreign investment. Hollywood and the global entertainment community have been reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia. London-based exhibitor Vue International has said that its plans to open multiplexes in Saudi Arabia are on temporary hold because of the scandal.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is an investor in Penske Media Corp., the parent company of Variety.

More Film

  • Kevin Hart Monopoly

    Kevin Hart in Talks to Star in Monopoly Movie

    Kevin Hart is in talks to star in Lionsgate and Hasbro’s Monopoly live-action movie, which he will also produce through his HartBeat Productions label. Tim Story is in final negotiations to direct the film and also produce through his Story Company banner. HartBeat’s John Cheng will also produce and oversee the pic with Carli Haney. Story Company [...]

  • Playtime Unveils Three New French Comedies

    Playtime Dives Into Different Shades of French Comedies (EXCLUSIVE)

    Playtime, the Paris-based co-production and sales company which will be presenting Francois Ozon’s anticipated “By the Grace of God” in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has acquired three offbeat French comedies, ranging from Geraldine Nakache’s “I’ll Go Where You Go,” to “The Bare Necessity” with Fanny Ardant, and Valerie Donzelli’s “Our Lady in Paris.” [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood hasn’t stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the hosting gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • The Pokémon Company Unveils Extensive Line

    The Pokémon Company Unveils Extensive Line of 'Detective Pikachu' Merch

    The Pokémon Company is putting out an extensive line of products for its first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, “Detective Pikachu,” it announced on Thursday. Among the new offerings are Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) booster packs, action figures, an interactive plush from Wicked Cool Toys, and an adorable deerstalker hat with Pikachu ears. All of the [...]

  • Other Angle Bows Raft of French

    Other Angle Bows Raft of French Comedies at UniFrance's Paris Rendez-Vous (EXCLUSIVE)

    Other Angle has picked up international sales rights to “A Good Doctor” with Michel Blanc, “Just The Three of Us” with Catherine Frot, and “The Father Figure” in the run-up to the UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous in Paris. Directed by Eric Besnard, “The Father Figure” is a supernatural comedy drama following a writer who mourns the death [...]

  • Playables and Double Fine Film 'KIDS'

    Playables and Double Fine Creation 'Kids' Chosen for Berlinale

    “Kids,” a short film from Playables and Double Fine Presents, has been officially selected to screen at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, announced Thursday via press release. The Berlin International Film Festival, commonly called the Berlinale, is one of the largest film festivals in the world. “Kids” will screen in a Berlinale sidebar called Generation. [...]

  • Roland Joffe

    Roland Joffe to Direct Mobster Drama 'The Legitimate Wiseguy'

    Roland Joffe will direct the independent mobster drama “The Legitimate Wiseguy,” Variety has learned exclusively. Joffe received Academy Award nominations for best director for “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986. He also helmed “The Scarlet Letter,” “The Forgiven,” “City of Joy,” “Time Traveller,” and “There [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content