Middle East

Turkey did not bug Saudi consulate, claims Turkish defence minister

Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul has been blocked off by Turkish authorities following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi (AFP)

Turkey's defence minister Hulusi Akar has repeated claims that Turkey did not obtain the recordings of Jamal Khashoggi's murder by bugging the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In a wide-ranging interview at the Halifax Security forum in Canada, Turkey's former NATO commander told the BBC that Turkey did no "surveillance" of the consulate.

“There was no surveillance within the consulate [and] we will not reveal the source of the recordings,” Akar told the BBC.

When pushed over whether bugging consulates was common practice for Turkey, Akar laughed off claims that Ankara had bugged the consulate and said: "there was no bugging."

He added that Turkey would not be making the recordings public but stressed that the decision would "depend on the situation" and at the "control of the public prosecution office."

The defence minister also shied away from blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder, reiterating that Turkey had shared its evidence with other friendly countries, and the "public prosecution is examining the issue from every angle.”

Akar's comments in Canada come as Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al Jubeir told Asharq al-Awsat news, that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not claim that the murder order was "given by senior Saudi government officials, but not MBS."

"Some of the statements made by individuals in Turkey contribute to a rift in the relationship, and we in the Kingdom do not want it, because it keeps us away from the important issues that we seek to address," Jubeir told Sharq al Awsat.

Jubeir added that Saudi had reached out to Ankara to hand over its evidence in the Khashoggi case to the Saudi public prosecution.

"Those who want to achieve justice must provide what they have to the Saudi judiciary," Jubeir told Asharq al-Awsat.

Jubeir also distanced Saudi Arabia from CIA reports that it blamed the Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi's murder.

He also claimed that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not claim that the murder order was "given by senior Saudi government officials, but not MBS."

Original Article