×
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

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

  • Studios Spurn WGA Request to Ban

    Studios Reject WGA Request to Ban Non-Franchised Talent Agents

    Studios have rejected a request by the Writers Guild of America to bar non-franchised talent agents if the current franchise agreement expires on April 7, saying it could expose them to extensive legal damages. The WGA will hold five days of member voting starting March 27 on a proposed “code of conduct” eliminating agency packaging [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content