Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu criticized President Donald Trump for reinforcing the strength of the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia despite the kingdom’s direct role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“In a way, Mr. Trump’s statement means ‘Come what may, I will turn a blind eye on this.’ This approach is wrong. Money is not everything. We should not distance ourselves from human values,” Çavuşoğlu told CNN Türk.
Trump faced backlash this week for offering a bizarre defense of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) despite CIA findings tying him to the death directly: “It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event ― maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said.
The president has also repeatedly stressed the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, as well as the economic benefits of Saudi promises to purchase U.S. weapons. Senators on both sides of the aisle blasted Trump for the soft-pedaling, demanding answers on the crown prince’s involvement.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), soon to be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also told The Washington Post that the committee plans to examine the murder of the U.S. resident as well as Trump’s response.
“We will certainly want to examine what the intelligence community knows about the murder,” Schiff said. “Then it will be quite clear whether the president is relying on the intelligence community and our best source of information or whether the president is representing something very different.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi-born writer for The Washington Post who had been living in Virginia, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The Saudi government has offered several explanations, first claiming he’d disappeared and later admitting he had been slain. The CIA has determined that Khashoggi was tortured and killed by a team directed by the crown prince soon after he arrived at the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.