Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that President Donald Trump intended to turn a "blind eye" to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Trump's backing to Saudi Arabia comes despite global outrage over the grisly killing.
Turkey on Friday said President Donald Trump intended to turn a "blind eye" to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder after he said Washington's ties with Riyadh would not be affected by the incident.
"In one sense, Trump is saying 'I will turn a blind eye'," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk broadcaster, referring to Trump's continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has committed to billions of dollars in US weapons contracts.
Trump's backing comes despite global outrage over the grisly killing that has tarnished the image of the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.
Trump on Tuesday glossed over the Central Intelligence Agency's reported conclusion that the the crown prince had authorised the killing.
"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" Trump said, implying Prince Mohammed's culpability in Khashoggi's killing in the diplomatic compound.
Trump was widely pilloried for what critics called his mercantile priorities that made him appear more like a lobbyist for Riyadh, raising the prospect of strong congressional action against Saudi Arabia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can meet with the Saudi crown prince if the latter requests so, Cavusoglu said.
Mohammed bin Salman — who is attending the G20 summit in Argentina — has expressed his will to meet Erdogan and has previously told Erdogan himself of his request over the phone, Cavusoglu said.
“Of course, there’s no reason not to meet bin Salman. Of course, it is up to our president,” he said.
After weeks of shifting explanations, Saudi Arabia suggested Khashoggi was killed during a botched rendition operation by rogue agents.
EU court ruling
Cavusoglu also said that Turkey objects to a recent ruling of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which demands the release of former co-chairman of the Peoples’' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas.
In November 2016, Demirtas along with 12 HDP lawmakers, were arrested on terror-related charges. Demirtas remains in custody pending trial.
Around a dozen HDP lawmakers are currently in prison pending trial for terrorism-related offences after their parliamentary immunity was lifted in May 2016.
Turkey’s government has said the HDP had links to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.