After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi there is activity and there are signs of change on the Saudi side. A scenario has started to circulate. I will be talking about this issue later in this article but let me first inform you from the field and tell you whether it is true or not that there is a change on the Saudi side.
You remember that shortly after the news of the murder got out, Crown Prince Salman made a statement and said, “Turkey can search the consulate if it wants.” Everyone interpreted this as a self-confident statement made by someone who is unrelated to the murder.
However, the reality wasn’t like that in the field. Until the day before yesterday, Saudis only allowed the search of one room alone and a few closets in the consulate. That was why Turkey wasn’t entering the consulate. The statement was contradicting he reality of the field. Now things have changed.
Important changes after the King’s call
I realized that things were changing after the Saudi King’s telephone call with President Erdoğan. That is why I interviewed an important official of the team carrying out the Khashoggi investigation and asked whether there is any reflection of this change on the field. He said:
“There is significant progress. The Saudi team is now willing to help us. They are not like the ones before. It seems that the King gave them some instructions after his call with our president.”
In fact, this must be the sign of radical change in the Khashoggi’s case. Both diplomatic and security sources are acknowledging a serious change after the King took charge of the investigation.
The body may have been vaporized
Let me come to the scenario issue, right after giving you one last piece of information I got from my source in the security forces. The most critical part of the investigation is finding the body. Every corner of Istanbul including the Belgrade Forests are being thoroughly searched. However, the possibility that the body may have been vaporized between the consulate and the residency is getting stronger. They could have done this with acid or something else. The security forces are also dwelling on this possibility.
That is why the search of the consulate and of the consul-general’s residency are extremely important. If they can’t find the body then other evidence they find could be very important. All the evidence will be sent to the Institution of Forensic Medicine and then we wait for the results.
The crisis’s solution seems to be prepared by the U.S., Saudi
Let’s now come to the scenario issue. According to CNN International’s coverage, Riyadh is planning to shift the blame to those 15 people and to the consul-general and remove the state from this issue. We need to evaluate President Trump’s statement saying, “Rogue killers may have murdered Khashoggi” within this framework as well. That is why this scenario seems to me as a U.S.-Saudi product.
Some of you will remember, I wrote in this column on Oct. 10, 2018 about the way out:
“If Saudi Arabia says that the murder was committed against the will of the state, reveals all suspects, including the consulate, hands them over for judicial proceedings, and apologizes, then the crisis won’t deepen and spread. Although the crime scene is a diplomatic mission, the unconventional acts of state officials and bureaucrats who ordered the murder can also be included within the scope of the investigation by Saudi Arabia. Then this matter will also involve Prince Salman. There is no better opportunity for the local and foreign circles who want to get rid of him.
Otherwise, this murder will turn out to be an operation of Saudi Arabia and it will fall into the category of being a rogue state. All the countries that currently hate Saudi and Prince Salman will review their relations with this state.”
As far as I understand, Saudi Arabia and U.S. will adopt this scenario. This is the best way out for both parties anyway. The U.S. won’t be giving up their arms deal worth $100 billion, and the Saudi King won’t be giving up his throne.
Crown Prince Salman may no longer be heir to the throne
However, they may make slight changes. Although some of the killers are personal guards of Prince Salman, the King will clear his son of this murder. No matter what he has done, he is his son. But the King will remove him from his position as crown prince. I am guessing he is right now discussing who should be replacing Salman with the U.S. Secretary of State, who hastily flew to Riyadh.
I assume that, diplomatically, Turkey won’t reject such a scenario. As a state, the most it wants is to arrest the killers, punish them and for an official apology to be made.
However, it may demand an end to the hostile attitudes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and establish good relations in all fields. Don’t be so surprised if you soon see acclaims of Erdoğan in the Gulf Press. The King probably ordered them to do so!
Turkey is carrying out this operation very well. It is doing a good job in terms of politics, diplomacy, intelligence, security and communication all together.
I think that things will become clearer within this week and that the killers will be found. We will then spit in the faces of those who ordered this murder and those who carried it out, and will remember Jamal Khashoggi, our colleague, friend and brother in Islam, in our prayers.