Erdogan show


The Saudi public prosecutor has said that he will seek the death penalty for the five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the brutal and targeted assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As expected, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has not been implicated. The Kingdom is now asking Ankara to hand over the audio recordings of the murder.
From the offset, this has been Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s show. And while his detractors accuse the Turkish President of disclosing relevant information drip by slow drip to remain centre stage — his supporters point out that he has single-handedly maintained pressure on the Saudis. Though, of course, he has stopped far short of accusing King Salman of any wrongdoing; preferring to talk of his endless respect for the monarch.
That being said, when Erdogan swept into Paris at the weekend to honour the fallen soldiers of the First World War he reportedly shared the aforementioned audio recordings with the US, Britain, France and Germany. Thus, regardless of any underlying agenda, Ankara is trying to keep the major western powers on their toes. After all, domestic pressure is growing in these countries and beyond for governments to pull the plug on lucrative arms deals to the Kingdom; as the war in Yemen rages on.
Pundits have emphasised that as the only Muslim member of NATO, Turkey and the US enjoy a special strategic relationship. Meaning that Trump Town cannot lord it over Ankara the way it might do with other countries in the Middle East. And while Remembrance Day represented the perfect opportunity to sit down with world leaders — it must be noted that this conveniently coincided with the aftermath of the US mid-terms. Though analysts remain divided over whether or not this worked to the Republican advantage.
Of course, nothing less than an international probe ought to be acceptable. This should ideally be led by an expert UN panel that includes representatives of global advocates for journalists’ rights. Because as things currently stand, the Saudis are effectively investigating themselves.