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Turkey won't 'give up' on Khashoggi murder probe: minister

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a search at the Saudi consul's residence had not taken place as family members were still present but should now go ahead

Turkey's foreign minister said Saturday his country would "not give up" on finding out the truth about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

"We haven't received any new information or outcome of the investigation from the Saudi side," Mevlut Cavusoglu said on the sidelines of a conference in Turkish ally Qatar.

"Turkey will not give up on this, we will go to the end."

Earlier this month, the minister said Turkey was in talks over a possible United Nations investigation into the October 2 murder, which has provoked global outrage.

The 59-year-old Khashoggi, a palace insider turned critic of the Saudi regime, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-strong Saudi hit squad, according to Turkish officials.

The US Senate gave its unopposed backing on Thursday to a resolution holding the kingdom's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, responsible for the murder after the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly concluded he gave the orders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the killing was ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government, although he has repeatedly absolved the ageing King Salman. 

In an exclusive interview this week with US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported that he reflected staunch support for the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in the face of heavy criticism following a CIA assessment that he was responsible for ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Without exculpating the Saudi leader, Trump reiterated his strong support for him, who has formed a strong bond with the current American administration.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

“He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally,” Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office.

Last month, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on 17 Saudis, including close aides of Prince Mohammed, but have still refrained from acting against the powerful crown prince.

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to US President Donald Trump, has been advising Bin Salman in the wake of the murder.

The report detailed Kushner’s relationship with Salman stating that the two are “on a first-name basis, calling each other Jared and Mohammed in text messages and phone calls.”

Asked on which side he would fall in a debate preoccupying the Saudi royal family over whether Mohammed Bin Salman should remain next in line to the throne, Trump said he believed the crown prince remained firmly in his position.

“I just haven’t heard that,” Trump said. “Honestly, I can’t comment on it because I had not heard that at all. In fact, if anything, I’ve heard that he’s very strongly in power.”

Despite the incriminating CIA summary from last month, Trump continues to refer to Bin Salman’s “vehement denial” of involvement in the killing, instead opting to view the intelligence report as “very premature.”


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