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Erdogan says Turkey has more information on death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

"It's not like we don't have other information and documents at hand — we do," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. "But there is no need to rush."
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks before members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara Friday.AP
/ Source: Reuters

Recep Tayyip Erdogan hasn’t played all his cards yet.

On Friday, the Turkish president continued his country’s drip-feed of information over the death of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, claiming there is still more about the killing he has not disclosed to the public.

"Of course, it's not like we don't have other information and documents at hand — we do," Erdogan said in a speech to members of his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Ankara. "But there is no need to rush."

A series of leaks by Turkish officials since the disappearance of Khashoggi — a critic of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — have ignited a firestorm of international criticism of the kingdom.

After initially vehemently denying that the former regime insider had died when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, the Saudis backpedaled several times. Last week they admitted that the U.S.-based dissident had been killed inside the building, and on Thursday, officials said it was a premeditated act.

The Turkish leader also said Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday as part of the investigation into Khashoggi's death.

Echoing statements made earlier this week, Erdogan urged Saudi Arabia to disclose who ordered Khashoggi's killing and where his body was.

NBC News previously reported that U.S. intelligence agencies investigating Khashoggi's killing believe it is inconceivable that Prince Mohammed had no connection to his death, but still have no "smoking gun" evidence that he ordered his critic's killing.

Erdogan also repeated that Riyadh needed to reveal the identity of the "local cooperator" who Saudi officials have said took Khashoggi's body from Saudi agents after the journalist was killed inside the consulate.

Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile last year amid the crown prince's widening crackdown on dissent.

The incident has strained historically strong relations between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

The absolute monarchy is a longtime U.S. ally and considered a bulwark against Iran, but the crisis over Khashoggi's death has helped crystallize growing unease about the 33-year-old crown prince.

It has also heaped more attention and condemnation on the kingdom’s war in Yemen, where half the population, around 14 million people, are at risk of famine.

Saudi Arabia has consistently denied that Prince Mohammed was aware of the operation against Khashoggi.

From the outset of his presidency, President Donald Trump has embraced Saudi Arabia and its ambitious royal heir, believing he could help the U.S. confront Iran in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump called the effort to conceal Khashoggi's killing the "worst cover-up ever" but declined to preview what the U.S. would do in response to the writer's death by Saudi operatives.

Shortly after Trump spoke, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would punish certain Saudis who have been connected to the killing.