Transcript of President Erdogan’s speech on Kashoggi case
23 October 2018|13 Safar 1440
Transcript of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Speech delivered today as he addressed the Turkish parliament in Ankara.
Dear friends, now in this part of our parliamentary group meeting, I would like to go ahead and talk about the fate of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi, who now we know for certain was murdered in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. I will try and be thorough in my assessment of what happened.
First of all I would like to honour the memory of the late Jamal Kashoggi. May his soul rest in peace and I send my condolences to his fiancé to his family to his friends to the people of Saudi Arabia of which he was a citizen and to the media world in general.
Now let’s to refresh of our memory if you will as regards what has happened. Jamal Kashoggi for the first time on the 28th of September Friday at 11:50 goes into the chief consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul for marriage related reasons. And it is now understood that the information of this visit of Kashoggi was actually given to the team that planned and executed the murder of the journalist. So that was the beginning of that planning phase.
And some Consulate offices officials actually left for the country in haste and this points in the direction that some preparation was indeed done.
On October 1st at 16:30, a day before the operation i.e: Monday, at 16:30 a team of 3 comes to Istanbul through a scheduled flight a commercial flight. They go to a hotel first and then to the Consulate. So in the meantime and other team of people from the Consulate go on an exploration mission to the Belgrade forest and to the city of Yalova.
On the 2nd of October at 1:45 a.m. at team of 3 people again took a schedule flight to Istanbul and went to their hotel. a third team of of 9 people including Generals took a private plane landed at the at the airport and went to another hotel for the night.
So overall the team were looking at is a total of 15 people and this team of people from 9:50 to 11 a.m. they come in different groups to the Consulate and meet there. The first thing they do is to remove the hard disk in the camera system of the Consulate and in the meantime Jamal Kashoggi was telephoned at 11:50 to confirm his appointment on that day.
On the same on the same day in early hours Kashoggi comes from London to Istanbul and enters on foot into the Consulate building at 13:08. The finance was with him at that point in time and after that point in time no information was obtained from him, no news came out.
At 17:15 that day, in the evening hours, Kashoggi’s fiance resorts to the official authorities of our country telling the authorities that Mr Kashoggi was being held at the consular building against as well and that something bad might have happened to him, upon which the relevant units of the director general of the national police in Istanbul start their investigation. They have a look at the security cameras, examine the footage, and it becomes certain at that point in time that Mr Kashoggi did not leave the consular building and of course as per the Vienna Convention they have Diplomatic Immunity but of course now that’s also being discussed. Ms. Mogherini also made a statement about this point.
So the Vienna Convention will probably need to be discussed and revised.
So due the Diplomatic Immunity – initially no concrete step was taken to the building and the officials of the Consulate. So the Turkish National Police and our intelligence start looking into the matter in depth and the office of Istanbul chief public prosecutor appoints an acting prosecutor and they initiate the investigation. Of course as more indepth information is collected, things start getting interesting.
First of all starting from the day prior to the day of the murder different planes were taken by a total of 15 Saudi Safety Intelligence & forensic experts who came to our country. Six of this team leave on October 2nd at 18:20. Seven of them leave on the same day at 22:50 taking private planes.
And also another person who was given the impression and the look of Mr. Jamal Kashoggi with his outfit, with his glasses and the beard – this individual and individual accompanying him also took a schedule flight after midnight to Riyadh and on the day of the incident the personel working at the Consulate Consulate and the residents were gathered together and explanation given to them was that there was an inspection going on. Then they were let go that day, they were asked to leave.
So the administration of Saudi Arabia first rejected the claims on October 4th that Kashoggi was killed and the Chief Consulate officer actually invited on October 6th a correspondent of Reuters inside the Consulate building and he opens and closes doors of cupboards the … and different areas of the consular office but of course that was done in a manner that was far from being serious. But in the meantime our national police our intelligence services our prosecution services continue to concentrate on their investigations to obtaining information and documentation. And our Ministry of Foreign Affairs also was in Constant communication with their counterparts to discuss the issue and share information.
On October 11th there was a group of special representatives who came to our country from Saudi Arabia and different contacts were made with them and of course after the matter being kept on the agenda by our community by are press community by the global media focusing on this issue, the consular services allowed the consulate premises to be searched. Of course dear friends we have to ask certain questions and find answers to these questions, because this incident happened in Istanbul, and we have as a result a responsibility. So we as people of responsibility, we have the right to ask these questions.
As things started to clarify of course other countries started taking action and at every opportunity we made it clear that we will not remain silent in the face of this murder and that we will take every step required by our conscience and by the law. On top of that of course we had to wait for the end of the examinations and investigation so that we would not falsely incriminate anyone.
His excellency, the King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz the custodian of the two holy mosques, we had a phone conversation with him for the first time on the 14th of October and I explained to him the present situation in light of the information we had at that point in time. During this telephone conversation I actually explained to him about the talks we had with the special delegation of representatives he had previously sent and I informed him of our joint decision to have a joint investigative group and we had an agreement on the fact that this would be the path to follow.
Up on the instructions of the King, teams from the prosecution service and from our Turkish National Police went into the Consulate premises and did some examination. Of course before that it was not allowed by the consular officials and when that first team of representatives came and talked to me, I explained certain things to this team of representatives as to how insufficient and incompetent this consulate was and I relayed the same message to his excellency the king as well.
So after that conversation, the following day, the Consul general was removed from his position. In the meantime the Consul General while he was in Istanbul had to go back to his country. He left. So there was another round of examinations in the consular premises on the 18th of October. On the 19th of October that is to say 17 days after the murder the Saudi administration officially admitted that Jamal khashoggi was murdered inside the consular premises inside the Consulate building. In the statement from the administration it was mentioned that Kashoggi died during a brawl that erupted in the building.
On the same day in later hours of the day, I had another conversation with the King Salman bin Abdulaziz. He told me that after the acknowledgement of the murderer, 18 people who were implicated were arrested. That was information he provided to me. The individuals on the list that was provided to our country while we found out that they were the same names as determined by our security and national intelligence services.So this team of 15 people, plus 3 others. These 3 others were already Consulate officials. So of course this development is important in the sense that the murder was officially acknowledged and accepted.
On the 21st of October I have a comprehensive conversation with President Trump of the United States of America and we had an agreement that the incident needed to be clarified in all of it’s aspects. Of course as the government of Turkey, as the state of Turkey, we have handled this whole process in compliance with the seriousness of these state matters and affairs, international law and the legislation of our country. Despite this being the case, of course, certain media outlets conducted a campaign in order to blame our country and implicate our country and to shift focus, shift the attention of the people, and we know full well who was behind this campaign and what their purpose was.
Of course these attempts to assassinate, the nature of seriousness that our country has shown has not kept us from fully investigating what has happened. While before everything this murder yes was indeed committed in the Saudi consulate building which is considered as Saudi soil but one must not forget that that area is within the boundaries of the Republic of Turkey. Also the Vienna Convention and other rules of international law do not allow investigation of such a vicious murder to be prevented by resorting to the Shield of Diplomatic Immunity. Ofcourse we will investigate this murder that was committed inside our country in all of it’s aspects. We will look into it and we will do whatever is necessary. On the other hand of course Jamal Kashoggi was a Saudi National but on top of that he was a world-renowned journalist and that of course gives us an international responsibility.
On top of her own sovereignty rights, Turkey will be the persistent in the follow-up of this incident on behalf of the international community and as a representative of the joint conscience of mankind. The information and the evidence that we have so far collected indicates that Jamal Kashoggi was slain in a vicious violent murder. Whitewashing such barbarity will of course injure the conscience of all humanity and we are of course looking forward to the same sensitivity being demonstrated by the administration of Saudi Arabia and all other parties to this affair.
Dear friends, the Saudi Arabian administration took an important step by acknowledging and admitting the murder. And now our expectation from them, going forward, is that all those responsible from the highest degree, highest level to the lowest level will be highlighted, will be brought to Justice and will get the punishment they deserve. There are indeed strong signs that the incident was not a momentary issue or a momentary result of something that erupted, but rather the result of a planned operation and of course in light of the existing information the following questions still are relevant.
So all 15 people who have backgrounds that are in one way or another connected to what happened or what was planned, why was this team of people assembled in Istanbul on that day, on the day of the murder? Who gave the instruction to these individuals to come to Istanbul? We are looking for an answer to this question as well. Why was the consulate premises not opened to examinations on that day or the following day but many days later?We need an answer to this. Now as it is now clear there was a murder, and it was clear from the beginning, then why was there a slurry of incoherent statements? Now there is official statement that there was a murder, where is the body? Why do we still not have the body? If the information that the body was given to a local cooperative conspirator, and information by an Authority by the way, now my question is who is this local co-conspirator? Because it’s not an ordinary person that mentioned about this local co-conspirator, it is a person of authority from Saudi Arabia that made that statement.
So you have to reveal the identity of this local co-conspirator. Before these questions are answered no one should have the faintest idea that what happened will be covered up. There is some additional information that is now being assessed by our security and intelligence services but of course that information also points to the fact that the incident was preplanned premeditated. As the examination of these bits of pieces of information is complete it will of course make its way into the official investigation file by the prosecution services.
Of course we cannot put the blame on a number of Security or Intelligence officials. For such an incident it will not satisfy either us or international community and the international conscience will only be satisfied when everyone is held accountable; the executors and the person or the people who gave the instruction.
Personally I do not doubt the sincerity of is excellency the King Salman bin Abdulaziz, custodian of the two holy mosques, however it is very very important that there is a truly impartial and just delegation that does the investigation looking into what has happened. Since this is a political murder if there are other people or circles implicated in other countries they have to be included in that investigation as well. This is a requirement of international law, Islamic law and I also believe that it is a requirement of the law of the land of Saudi Arabia.
As Turkey we will continue to follow up on this matter and whatever is required by our own laws and international law we will make sure that those steps are taken. Also let me make a call here today.
Here’s the call: This is a call to his excellency the king of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz custodian of the two holy mosques and of course the senior officials of the administration. This incident took place in Istanbul. Therefore this team of 15 + 3 = 18 people, their trials, I’m proposing, be held in Istanbul.
Of course it’s their prerogative, but this is my recommendation this is my suggestion because this is where the incident happened.