Officially, Turkey is working with Saudi Arabia to get to the bottom of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Behind the scenes, however, Turkish intelligence has been leaking a steady stream of lurid allegations of his alleged demise to foreign and domestic media.
“Turkey acknowledges this is an international issue and should be dealt with on the world scene,” a senior bureaucrat acknowledged to Al-Monitor. “We want to keep the attention alive. We do not want to frame this as a bilateral issue with the Saudis alone.”
Why it matters: Ankara believes it has been successful in convincing global audiences that Khashoggi was murdered by officials closely linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. At the same time, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet to make an official statement about the case.
The dual game of leaks and official silence is widely seen as a bid to both embarrass and extract concessions from a geostrategic rival. Ankara and Riyadh are at odds over a wide range of issues, from Turkey’s support for Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood to Ankara’s staunch opposition of Saudi-backed Kurdish rebels in Syria. What exactly the Turks hope to gain from their negotiations with the Saudis remains shrouded in mystery.
Bureaucratic CYA: Turkish officials deny any overarching desire to hurt Saudi Arabia. Rather, they say, their aim is to keep the spotlight on Khashoggi even as they continue their quest for answers.
Read more HERE