Turkey on Wednesday heavily criticized President Donald Trump’s statement about slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying it was “comic.” Our NATO partner also accused the United States of “turning a blind eye” to the murder of the Saudi journalist who was a writer for the Washington Post.
Trump on Tuesday defended Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder by issuing an official White House statement. Turkey joined a chorus of Trump critics in the U.S. and around the world who have denounced the president for contradicting a CIA report which said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the writer’s death.
“Yesterday’s statement is a comic statement,” Numan Kurtulmus, the deputy chairman of President Tayyip Erdogan’s party, told Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber.
“It is not possible for an intelligence agency such as the CIA, which even knows the color of the fur on the cat walking around the Saudi consulate’s garden … to not know who gave this order,” Kurtulmus added. “This is not credible either for U.S. public opinion or the world public opinion.”
Trump’s official statement on Tuesday said the U.S. would maintain a “steadfast” alliance with Saudi Arabia and refused to blame Crown Prince Mohammed for Khashoggi’s killing even though the CIA concluded that he ordered the assassination.
“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said, adding that “we may never know” who was responsible.
Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and the Saudi government initially denied that it had anything to do with his disappearance. The Saudis later admitted that he was murdered by a team of Saudi assassins that met him when he arrived at the consulate.
Since Khashoggi’s disappearance Turkey has slowly released information about the case. It has done its own investigation and compiled its own evidence. They concluded that the Saudi assassins were intelligence agents working on orders from Saudi Arabia, and probably from MBS himself.
The crown prince has steadfastly denied any involvement in the Khashoggi disappearance or murder. Saudi experts however have said it would be nearly impossible to carry out an operation such as the Khashoggi murder in the Saudi consulate in Turkey without the knowledge and approval of MBS, who is in charge of day-to-day governance of Saudi Arabia.
By making an inane, unbelievable and treasonous statement Donald Trump has once again made the United States look ridiculous to our allies around the world. He also has made clear that he is putting his own business interests in Saudi Arabia ahead of the interests of our country and the American people. This is just one more example of why Trump does not deserve to be president and should be removed from office as quickly as possible.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.