Erdogan urges world to keep Khashoggi case on agenda

At his G20 press conference, Erdogan says perpetrators of Jamal Khashoggi should be brought to justice

Turkish President on Saturday called on the international community to prioritize bringing perpetrators of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to justice and do not allow this topic to slip out of global agenda.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the press conference in INTEX Osaka International Exhibition Center in line with G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Japan and delivered remarks on a variety of subjects. “Bringing perpetrators of Khashoggi murder, from top to bottom level, to justice is the primary task of the international community,” Erdogan said at his speech, calling on the world countries to keep slain journalist’s death at the global agenda.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 last year. “The 15 people sent to Turkey are the perpetrators of Khashoggi killing, and MBS [Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman] is the first person who should reveal [truth] behind this incident,” he said.

Turkish president underlined that the international media should cover this case more. Erdogan said Turkish intelligence units shard recordings related to Khashoggi’s killing with the Saudi counterparts. “Can Dollar buy anything? There must be things that it can not buy, I believe the pen is one of them. [Dollar] should not be able to buy the pen or opinions,” he asserted.

Riyadh offered various, conflicting narratives to explain his disappearance before acknowledging he was murdered in the diplomatic building while seeking to shift blame for his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents. Khashoggi’s body has not been recovered, and the Kingdom has remained silent on its whereabouts.

In her report, UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “constituted an extrajudicial killing” for which “Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

Refugee crisis

President Erdogan said he told his counterparts about the “sacrifices” Turkey has made since 2011 when the Syrian civil war erupted, prompting influx of millions of refugees into Turkey. “Since 2011, we have opened our door to over four million refugees, including 3.6 million Syrians who fled the clashes,” Erdogan said, adding regional countries were the only ones taking the responsibility of irregular migrants.

Erdogan said Turkey, according to the UN calculations, have spent over $37 billion whereas the international organizations have allocated some $2 billion dollars. The UN Refugee Agency provided a total of a billion dollar for the refugees in Turkey, he added. He said the developed Western countries who lecture others about human rights have failed at humanitarian dimension of the Syrian conflict.

“As long as conscious-based policies are not preferred over prejudices against refugees, more toddlers will die in the sea,” he said, referring to Aylan Kurdi — a three-year-old Syrian toddler, who drowned on a Turkish coast in 2015 while trying to cross to Europe. Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. According to the UN on Thursday, more than 230 civilians have lost their lives, more than 330,000 have fled in just six weeks, and three million more remain at risk.

Turkey and S-400 missile system

Asked about Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense system, Erdogan replied: “Our whole agreement regarding S-400 has been concluded, it is now in the delivery process… It is a done deal,” he said. Erdogan said Turkey sought to buy Patriot missile system from the U.S. during the presidency of Barack Obama, however, the latter refused this on the pretext that the U.S. Congress did not allow this purchase.

After the U.S. rejection, Turkey looked for an alternative air defense system and Russia provided the best option, therefore Turkey decided to buy S-400 missile system, according to Erdogan. On possible U.S. sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan said U.S. President Donald Trump himself made it clear that sanctions were not going to happen.

“We are strategic partners with the U.S.,” Erdogan said, adding no country had right to interfere with Turkey’s sovereignty rights.

F-35 Fighter Jet program and Turkey

In his speech, the Turkish president also touched upon another hot topic on the agenda of Ankara and Washington: F-35 fighter jet dispute. Erdogan said Turkey was not a market for F-35 fighters but a common manufacturer of the program. Emphasizing that Turkey has so far paid $1.4 billion for F-35 jets to the U.S., he continued: “There are four F-35 jets so far delivered to us… But we are going to buy a total of 116 jets.”

He said the statements of some U.S. officials did not overlap with Trump’s, adding: “I believe that these [disputes] will not disrupt our bilateral ties and we continue our way with determination.” Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have simmered over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems.

Washington claims the purchase will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet program and has threatened sanctions. Turkey has said there is no conflict between the S-400 and the F-35 and has called for a working group to clarify the issue.

Acts of terrorism worldwide

President Erdogan slammed the acts of terror that target civilians all around the globe and called on all countries to have a stance against terrorism. “Terrorism should not be linked to any ethnicity or religion,” Erdogan said, indirectly pointing to the rising Islamophobia across the globe. He added that the terror attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka were obvious examples that terror does not discriminate between targets.

At least 51 Muslim worshippers were massacred and as many injured in a white supremacist terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. On Easter Sunday, over 250 people were killed in Colombo city of Sri Lanka, majority of the victims were Christians. “The identity of a terrorist [who targeted] Istanbul, Lahore, Beirut does not mean anything. Terror is an enemy of all humanity and human values,” he asserted. Erdogan criticized that there were “inconsistencies” against terror groups, especially in Syria, referring to the U.S. support for the YPG/PKK in northern Syria.

“Some terror groups such as the YPG/PKK, which practice ethnic cleansing, take children under arms and impose forced migration to people, are held in high esteem,” he said. The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

The YPG, PKK’s Syrian branch, has managed to occupy one-third of Syria under the guise of fighting against Daesh with U.S. support. “Terror, just like a scorpion, will sooner or later sting the hand feeding it. Just like terror groups like Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab pose a global security threat, the neo-Nazi organizations, as seen in New Zealand massacre, pose the same danger,” he said.

Erdogan stressed that “some” Western countries provided shelter to terror groups such as Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) under the guise of “political asylum”. On July 15, 2016, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated a defeated coup in Turkey, leaving 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state through the infiltration of institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

International trade

Erdogan stressed that international trade was one of the most vital elements of the G20 summit.”We maintain our commitment towards the multilateral trade system that is open, free and based on rules,” he said. Erdogan went on to say that the steps to be taken, in the sense of reducing the tension that has peaked following “trade wars”, should be compatible with the rules of World Trade Organization (WTO).

– Death of former Egyptian president Morsi

Erdogan urged the international community to hold a probe into the death of Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt who died on June 17. Morsi, a leading member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, won Egypt’s first free presidential election in 2012. After only a year in office, however, he was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup led by then-Defense Minister Sisi.

“The statements from the [Egyptian] putschists are far from satisfying the conscience,” he said, adding Morsi was not given any medical help for half an hour when he collapsed during his trial. Erdogan said shedding light on Morsi’s death was of huge importance for the sake of democracy and politics worldwide.

Climate Change

Turkish top statesman said Turkey, among the G20 countries, stood as one of the countries with the “lowest” carbon emission. Erdogan said the G20 approach towards climate change should be based on fairness. In addition, he said the countries’ historical responsibilities and development levels should be taken into consideration while discussing climate troubles. “We want the promises given to Turkey to be kept,” he said, referring to the climate-titled summits in Paris and Buenos Aires.

Criticizing permanent 5 of UN

Turkish president had openly, and repeatedly, slammed the dominance of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), saying “world is bigger than five.” “Abandoning the fate of 192 UN-member countries to the permanent five is not a right and fair approach. G20 Platform has a structure which is more democratic and surrounding,” he said. In line with the summit context,

President Erdogan attended a special session on the theme of “Women’s Empowerment” and the final session of the summit dubbed “Climate Change – Environment and Energy”. President Erdogan thanked Japan for hosting such a “successful” event and underlined that G20 summit was “meaningful” in the sense of discussing various topics with different state actors. Erdogan held talks with a number of leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump,

Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The G20 Leaders’ Summit, followed by more than 2,000 journalists from around the world, is being attended by 30,000 people, including 19 leaders and delegates from the European Union.

Source: Anadolu Agency