Erdogan’s “Khashoggi speech” is meant to boost his Muslim credentials (and Turkish lira)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan withheld the promised “naked truth” about the Saudi role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on Oct. 2 in his speech to parliament on Tuesday, Oct.23. He failed to produce any of the audio or video evidence of the crime, which Turkish authorities claimed to possess during weeks of disseminating sensational leaks to the world media. His references to Saudi King Salman were deferential: “His denial of prior knowledge of the crime is sincere.” And he made no mention at all of the beleaguered Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Turkish president noted that the 18 people arrested in Riyadh were those named by Turkey as the assassins, saying they should be tried in Istanbul. He also referred to a team of three people, without identifying them, who he said, arrived in Riyadh the day before Khashoggi’s disappearance and scouted a forest near Istanbul. This suggested that the Saudis had prepared a hiding place for the murdered journalist’s remains and therefore knew where the body was. Erdogan called for an independent inquiry into the affair, asserting: “This was a political killing!”

DEBKAfile’s analysts make certain inferences from the mildness of the Turkish president’s accusations. One is that he and the Saudi royal house have come to a deal to defuse the affair, to which President Donald Trump is a party. Alternatively, Erdogan himself was short of smoking-gun evidence to support those accusation. It is also possible that he has learned from his own record of making political opponents disappear, whether from the Turkish army, police or intelligence service, that holding back information increases his bargaining power.
He has already milked international outrage over the assassination of the Saudi journalist for great personal benefits and can afford to allow it to die down.

In all 15 years at the helm of Turkish government (11 as prime minister and four as president), he has never felt stronger or closer to his imperial ambitions. In the weeks after the Khashoggi episode erupted, he bounced his fortunes from rock bottom to the pinnacle of world affairs. Before, he was grappling with a sinking currency, a bitter hate contest with fellow Muslim rulers, excepting only Qatar, over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, one foot out of NATO, and nearly half a million Turks deprived of their livelihood by his massive purges after the 2016 that nearly toppled him.
After the Khashoggi affair broke, Erdogan is sought after by world leaders, whether in Washington or hostile Riyadh, and entertains high hopes of achieving goals that were once out of his reach:

  • Stabilizing the Turkish lira with US and Saudi financial assistance. Riyadh may fork out generous sums for removing the Khashoggi affair from international headlines and agenda.
  • From being treated like a pariah by mainstream Muslim nations like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Erdogan’s Turkey may win acceptance as an ally.
  • His standing in the Muslim world will be much enhanced, one of his most coveted ambitions.
  • This enhancement will pave the way for his appointment as mediator in the Saudi-UAE feud with Qatar.
  • Erdogan gains more say in determining Syria’s post-war future.
  • His clout is seriously strengthened in dealings with Moscow and Tehran.
  • He has opened the door to alliances with parties which are hostile to Israel, so gaining clout over the Jewish state.


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18 thoughts on “Erdogan’s “Khashoggi speech” is meant to boost his Muslim credentials (and Turkish lira)

  • Oct 23, 2018 @ 15:24 at 15:24

    It is typical of ME Islamic politics that one day you are murdering, mutilating, raping, pillaging and a pariah in the eyes of the world and the next you are a hero for admitting your own carnage. The world is a crazy. Erdogan is a dictator and dictators, especially of the of the Islamic variety, support one another. There is nothing the Saudis do to oppress and kill their people that Erdogan has not done in spades. There are no leaders in the Muslim world who are good for their own people or the people of the world. We all lick their boots and that is the big problem. Obama, a Muslim elected twice as President of the United States, made his presidency about bending over backwards for Islamic countries and ideology.

    • Oct 24, 2018 @ 10:56 at 10:56

      The West is soo oh so morally bankrupt… Killing millions around the world…. Look at the drone killings in Afghanistan and Yemen and then ask yourself before you criticise the Muslim rulers… What’s the difference…. Why isn’t USA taken to task for the mindless and senseless deaths that their drones and carpet bombing causes

      • Oct 24, 2018 @ 15:01 at 15:01

        The Taliban are at war with the people of Afghanistan…the West tries to prevent terrorism, war and conquest…ISIS spread as a result of unfinished wars and giving Iraq over to Iran and other Islamists. The US should have appointed its own leaders until the situation was right. Allowing Islam to spread at the sword is a threat to all people, especially Muslims (and the minorities they have been taught through their religion to hate and annihilate). If the West were not the best in terms of freedom we would not see millions of people eager to move to the West. Their own countries and their totalitarian rulers are s%^t.

  • Oct 23, 2018 @ 15:53 at 15:53

    no one takes a look at the fiance. look her record as a Muslim brotherhood and her trips abroad. put one and one together and you might find that it was a set up a trap or feeding info to the Saudis to commit the crime. some might say Qatar money might have been influenced those supposed 12 that why he wants the trial to be in turkey . look at his record after the coup. and how the hell they have all this footage of suspects unless they were somehow feeding them info and tracking them . MIT is considered to be better than mossad these days in disappearances

  • Oct 23, 2018 @ 16:54 at 16:54

    Muslim credentials. Above as useful as a 3rd nipple on Erdogan

  • Oct 23, 2018 @ 20:15 at 20:15

    I hope he is able to use is increased clout to form a world wide Muslim alliance that can take on the entire world

    • Oct 23, 2018 @ 23:20 at 23:20

      …but I thought islam was a religion of peace? So its all bullshit after all? You people are enemies and mean to kill us? Oh wow! I feel so disappointed…where’s my safe space!!?

    • Oct 23, 2018 @ 23:41 at 23:41

      Not possible. Mudslimes are too busy pleasuring their Camels with the Largest Shmucks to defeat the West.

    • Oct 24, 2018 @ 2:17 at 2:17

      Suleiman Haq: Refreshingly truthful admission of the conquest-jihad taking place with Leftist support.

    • Oct 24, 2018 @ 6:41 at 6:41

      muslim nazi wants the entire world destroyed by nazi muslim broterhood of erdogan

  • Oct 23, 2018 @ 21:50 at 21:50

    When the rag heads decide to “take on the entire world”, . . . it will be like Custer and the Indians in the US. Indians won over Custer, . . . but wound up on the reservations or buried after that. Fenced in reservations with large deep moats full of alligators would be a wonderful place for all muslims to wind up, . . . all 100 that would be left over after the fight.

  • Oct 24, 2018 @ 0:39 at 0:39

    LMAO, little erdogan want to put the 18 Saudi’s on trial accused of murdering their own citizen in a Saudi Arabian Consulate? What doesn’t this illiterate moron understand that the consulate is an off shoot of the SA embassy and thus is considered Saudi Arabian territory. Turkey has no, none, zero, authority in the SA consulate. Entering this territory without explicit SA permission is illegal under every interpretation of international law and can be considered as an act of war. little turkey needs to stop chirping about SA as little erdogan has become quite the consummate little dictator, killing freedom and the Turkish people. The only more disgusting arrangement is that they are still apart of NATO, I am not sure if an Article 5 call from Turkey would be responded to by NATO, the USA pulled our Nukes out of Incirlik Air Base a, now we are closing US operations there

  • Oct 24, 2018 @ 6:22 at 6:22

    In my opinion everything worked as expected. This poor guy was murdered to achieve 2 goals:
    1. to further terrorise people in the KSA and
    2. to enable the US making deals with Russia

    The first goal seems to be obvious but I doubt MBS would risk sparking the crisis possibly leading to his removal without prior consent from someone in the American administration. The second goal is less obvious but makes perfect sense in the consideration of deeper strategic goals of the US. The only significant strategic competitor, capable of upending the current global order is China. Russia is a weak state with a relatively strong army and a plenty of natural resources which will inevitably become a junior partner to China when China grows. The Russians know that. Currently the Americans are pushing against Russia hard in Eastern Europe, leaving Putin with no choice but to embrace China against the US. This makes no sense to both parties, the US needs Russia to isolate China economically otherwise the strategy of derailing the Chinese economic and overall civilisation ascent has zero chance to succeed. The old American foreign policy establishment associated with late Z. Brzezinski, Albright, Clinton, etc. is trying to stop any kind of collaboration with Russia. Russia is the enemy number one – since they confiscated the assets belonging to Browder, murdered Magnitsky (and did a few other unfriendly things against Georgia and Ukraine, such as sending troops where the Americans wanted to install their missiles). They also hacked Clinton, emails etc.

    The warped logic in the American foreign policy might be as follows: we have to deal with KSA against Iran no matter what. We have to tolerate the antics of MBS despite everyone knowing that he is a repugnant tyrant murdering his opponents in a grotesque medieval way. Why wouldn’t we deal with the Russians who are a bit less less medieval? It is the hammering of this message into the heads of American political establishment what could only be achieved after the supposedly “botched” kidnapping which in my opinion went exactly as planned by someone with the experience in waterboarding.

    If we see Russian flags in Kharkov next April it means that Bolton struck the deal in Moscow and my theory is correct.

  • Oct 24, 2018 @ 6:24 at 6:24

    Erdogan wants a payoff from the Saudis and the US to destroy the evidence. Whorers dealing with whorers.

  • Oct 24, 2018 @ 10:55 at 10:55

    From the Debka article:

    “Erdogan called for an independent inquiry into the affair, asserting: “This was a political killing!” ”

    Interesting comment coming from the likes of Erdogan. Some of his own political opponents didn’t fare so well.

  • Oct 24, 2018 @ 13:37 at 13:37

    Thé Saudi Arabians are ont amateurs, and the Turks have too much information on the matter. What a coincidence that as the Saudi clout in the Middle East was growing and the Turkish ruled by the murderer dictator was diminishing, a journalist is killed in the Saudi embassy, and Turkey knows all the details including that days prior three Saudis were scouting a forest. I can’t shake the feeling that Turkey who was never shy to kill journalists or any other opponents of the dictator’s regime had a hand in this together with some of the opponents to the Saudi regime in Saudi Arabia.

  • Oct 25, 2018 @ 15:49 at 15:49

    does anyone really think that if one wants to kill an opponent he does it in the embassy? and not in the street make it look like a theft gone wrong? after all Istanbul is not a safe city one can make things look like accidents

  • Oct 27, 2018 @ 17:33 at 17:33

    ‘boost for Muslim credentials’….not something any sane people would go after.

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