Cavusoglu says Erdogan has no reason not to meet MBS during G20 summit later this week, German newspaper reports. NEWS / TURKEY
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has requested to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the upcoming two-day G20 summit in Argentina, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
“Yes, he has asked Erdogan on the phone, whether they could meet in Buenos Aires. Erdogan’s answer was ‘Let’s see’,” Cavusoglu told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Tuesday.
“At the moment there is no reason not to meet with the crown prince,” Cavusoglu said, adding that the request was made during a phone call.
Erdogan and Prince Mohammed, commonly known by his initials MBS, will attend the G20 meeting in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, on November 30-December 1.
The relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been strained by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month.
After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh finally admitted that Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered in a “rogue operation”.
Riyadh has repeatedly said Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the killing, which Turkey says was carried out at the kingdom’s consulate by a 15-member hit squad with links to MBS’s security team.
Erdogan has said the killing was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership but ruled out that it had come from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, putting the spotlight instead on the 33-year-old crown prince.
United States President Donald Trump said last week Washington would remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Prince Mohammed may have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi.
‘Why identikit pictures?’
Asked if he knew for sure who in Riyadh gave the order to kill Khashoggi, Cavusoglu said that the team would not have acted on its own, but could not say anything else without proof.
Cavusoglu said Riyadh had offered to send identikit photos of local helpers who assisted in the cover-up. “Why identikit pictures? The Saudis know the names,” he said.
Turkey says it has recordings related to the killing which it shared with Western allies. Cavusoglu said he had listened to the recordings and that Khashoggi was killed within seven minutes.
“It was premeditated murder,” he told the German newspaper, rather than a last resort after they failed to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.
“It can be heard how the forensics expert instructs the others: they should listen to music while he cuts up the body. One notices how he enjoys it.”
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES