Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Monday that Saudi Arabian diplomats release footage to prove that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul under his own power.
Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi insider-turned-journalist, fled his home country to avoid retribution for his criticism of the Saudi royal family, and went missing following a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
“Do you not have cameras and everything of the sort?” Erdogan asked, challenging Saudi officials to prove they did not murder and dismember Khashoggi, as has been alleged by other Turkish officials. “They have all of them. Then why do you not prove this? You need to prove it.”
Turkish authorities allege that Khashoggi, a former Reuters editor who regularly contributes to the Washington Post‘s Global Opinions section, was murdered by a team of 15 assassins flown into Turkey to silence a critic of the Saudi royal family’s illiberalism. They have not, however, produced any evidence to substantiate the allegation as of yet.
While the White House has remained silent on Khashoggi’s disappearance, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have demanded answers from the Saudi government.
“If there is any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid—economically and otherwise,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a Monday tweet.
Saudi officials have categorically denied the allegations of involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance and pledged to fully cooperate with Turkey’s investigation. Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to Turkey, reiterated those sentiments in a Monday statement and denied that Khashoggi’s visit was captured on video.
“We don’t want to harm the investigation.” bin Salman told the Washington Post. “Speculation does not help our mission.”