Disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul created a wave of reactions against Saudi young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s suppressive policies.
Despite early denials, worldwide reactions finally forced the Saudi rulers to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman policies in the country’s consulate.
Among all international bodies, countries and political figures nobody reacted to Khashooggi’s death as strong as Turkish President Erdogan did.
Along with the Turkish police investigations the countries officials particularly President Erdogan have been revealing details of the murder gradually. Rejecting the Riyadh’s proposed bribe and despite the Saudi ruler’s acknowledgment, Turkey has called the Riyadh’s explanation incomplete and Turkish President has vowed to uncover the truth behind Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.
Although Turkish President has called the Saudi journalist as “a friend”, other reasons can be imagined behind President Erdogan’s determination to follow the issue so seriously.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been competing for influence in Middle East for years and have had lots of conflicts and tensions over the developments in Egypt which resulted in removal of Turkish backed Morsi from power by Saudi backed al-Sisi, Qatar crisis, Saudi role in 2016 failed coup in Turkey and Saudi destructive role in Syria and Iraq and Riyadh’s financial and political support to separatist Kurdish groups which Turkey considers them as a threat to its national security.
Turkey considers Mohammad bin Salman behind all Riyadh’s regional and anti-Turkey policies. The tensions between the two countries heightened so that Saudi Crown prince referred to Turkey as part of a regional “triangle of evil” along with Iran and Qatar.
Savage killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate provided Erdogan with a golden opportunity to press international community and the US to push Saudi King to remove the young prince from power or at least to contain his destructive policies in the region especially regarding the Kurds in Syria and Iraq.
It also seems that President Erdogan is using the current situation to reduce domestic and international critiques of himself. Rejecting the US demand to release of Pastor Andrew Brunson accused of links to PKK terrorist group and the Gulenist movement by Turkish president resulted in the White House’s sanctions against Turkey which deteriorated the country’s economic situation.
Over the past couple of years, Erdogan has always been accused of limiting journalists’ rights and freedom of speech both domestically and internationally, by supporting the Saudi Journalist he can show himself as defender of journalist’s rights internationally.
First published in our partner MNA