President Trump is turning a “blind eye” to human rights by refusing to hold the Saudi Arabian royal family responsible for the grisly murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a top Turkish government official charged Friday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, painted Trump as an amoral opportunist for prioritizing financial ties with the Saudis instead of acting on his own intelligence community’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s slaying in Istanbul last month.
“This statement that Trump made means: ‘No matter what happens, I will turn a blind eye,’” Cavusoglu told Turkey’s CNN-Turk television.
The Saudi-born Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of bin Salman, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 after he went there to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding. As his would-be wife waited outside, a Saudi team of assassins strangled Khashoggi and dismembered him with a bone saw, the conservative kingdom has conceded after at first denying any knowledge of his disappearance. Khashoggi’s body has yet to be found.
Even though the CIA and Turkish investigators have concluded that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder, Trump has refused to punish or even point fingers at the Saudi royal family, instead giving the regime the benefit of the doubt because he says economic and military ties with the conservative kingdom are too important to sever.
“He denies it vehemently,” Trump said of the crown prince while talking to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Thanksgiving.
The President, who has refused bipartisan calls for tough sanctions against the Saudis, then falsely insisted the CIA only has “feelings” that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. In fact, a high confidence assessment compiled by the agency states the crown prince, who serves as the kingdom’s de facto leader, ordered the gruesome crime, according to U.S. officials.
Cavusoglu was taken aback by Trump’s behavior.
“This is not a correct approach,” he said. “Not everything is money.”
with News Wire Services