Turkish foreign minister has lashed out at US President Donald Trump for turning a “blind eye” to the Saudi murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, blamed on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“In one sense, Trump is saying ‘I will turn a blind eye’ no matter what happens,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk broadcaster on Friday.
Cavusoglu slammed Trump’s continued support for Saudi Arabia, including billions of dollars worth of US weapons contracts. “This is not the right approach. Money doesn’t mean everything,” he said.
The Turkish foreign minister’s comments came after Trump stated that the murder of Khashoggi would not affect Washington’s ties with Riyadh despite the fact that the murder had been ordered at highest levels of the Saudi government.
Trump on Tuesday glossed over the Central Intelligence Agency’s reported conclusion that the crown prince had authorized the killing.
“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said, implying bin Salman’s culpability in Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi mission in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
The deputy chief of Turkey’s ruling party slams Trump’s statement in defense of Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi case, and says he is turning a blind eye to the brutal murder.
Trump has widely been pilloried for what critics called his mercantile priorities that made him appear more like a lobbyist for Riyadh. The killing and Riyadh’s explanations have angered its Western partners.
Germany, Denmark, and Finland all halted their arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the assassination scandal. However, France, the UK, Spain and Italy are not going to stop supplying weapons to the criminal regime.
Finland says it stops exporting military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the devastating war on Yemen.
Cavusoglu on Friday strongly criticized the Europeans’ reaction, saying that “artificial measures” would not help solve the crisis.
“They (Europe) say they don’t want to upset ties with Saudi Arabia. We do not want to upset our relations either,” he said, stressing that Ankara would do anything to shed light on the murder.
Turkey insists the murder was premeditated, sharing evidence with Riyadh as well as with the US and Western allies but stops short of pointing the finger of blame at the prince.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order came from “the highest levels” but not from King Salman.
Ankara has not ruled out the possibility of a meeting between Erdogan and Prince Mohammed on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Argentina next week.
“We don’t see any obstacle to a meeting with the crown prince,” Cavusoglu said. “If there is a request, there could be a meeting but our president will decide.”