Officials from Saudi Arabia welcomed the decision to form a “bilateral expert-level Joint Action Team” tasked to “disclose the merits of the Saudi national Jamal bin Ahmed Hamza Khashoggi's disappearance, in the city of Istanbul, Turkey,” as announced by Saudi official media.
Yet there is a lot of confusion regarding the information published in the media on Khashoggi's disappearance. Some ran to blame Saudi Arabia for this incident, accusing it of Khashoggi’s disappearance. He was close to the Saudi ruling family and a high-ranking consultant to the Saudi royal court. Others went as far as claiming that Turkish authorities had evidence that he was killed within the Saudi Consulate.
Mohamed Al-Ottaibi, Saudi Consul in Istanbul, stressed that Saudi Arabia rejects any attempts to politicise Khashoggi’s case, pointing that his country cares a lot about their citizens.
“What was published in the media is false by all means,” said Al-Ottaibi. “The consulate opened its doors for media to show that they are not withholding any efforts to find Khashoggi,” he stressed.
A senior official inside KSA’s embassy in Istanbul rejected accusations by Turkish officials that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate.
The Saudi official position is clear, but why do media sources remain “unclear” about how they got information about Khashoggi’s disappearance, claiming his death without any physical or criminal evidence?
The Washington Post published a report on how the Turkish government has told US officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to “US and Turkish officials”. Officials who until now, remain unknown.
However, the Washington Post pointed out that the Turkish authorities “fear they could divulge how the Turks spy on foreign entities in their country,” according to “officials.”
A Reuters source, no more or less credible than the Turkish sources, claims that a plan to kidnap Khashoggi went awry. Like many anonymous rumours, this one comes without more details.
US national security adviser, John Bolton, appeared to cast doubt on Turkey’s version of events surrounding Khashoggi’s disappearance, suggesting that, because Turkey and Saudi Arabia had been historical foes, another “operation” may have taken place.
“You know, honestly, we just don’t know what the facts are,” Bolton told the right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt. “And that was one of the points that I made to the crown prince. We need to find out what the facts are, and we need to get this resolved quickly, because if it is another operation, people need to understand that.
“I think the Saudis themselves are being damaged, because we don’t have the facts out. There’s obviously been historical animosity between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. We have our own difficulties with Turkey at the moment,” said Bolton.
“A foreign government — an American ally, no less — can’t just murder a US resident with impunity while he’s on the soil of a Nato member state because they didn’t like his newspaper columns, it does not make any sense,” said Matthew Yglesias, co-founder of Vox News.
“The strongest evidence that Saudi Arabia did not kill Khashoggi is that its response to these inevitable accusations has been so hapless, and the predictable fall-out so disastrous,” said Graeme Wood, senior staff writer at The Atlantic.
“If Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation that ended with Khashoggi dead, what he has gained by terrifying other dissidents and ending Khashoggi’s series of mildly blistering Washington Post columns cannot be worth his loss of international support,” he added.
Wood explain that if the Saudis lured Khashoggi into the consulate to kill him and dismember his corpse, they would not have chosen the one place in Istanbul where Saudi guilt would be universally acknowledged and undeniable, defying common sense.