While the circle is tightening around Khashoggi’s murderers - YASIN AKTAY

While the circle is tightening around Khashoggi’s murderers

The operation targeting Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, the identities of the suspects who participated in this operation and their activities are being exposed day by day. From what has been revealed to date, we can infer that more details will be uncovered in the coming days.

My colleague Kemal Öztürk rightly criticized the way news about our dear friend Khashoggi is being reported. He argues that the fact that he is being defined only as a “dissident journalist”, the many details shared by the press about his murder, and public attention toward the way he was murdered and the moment he was murdered is causing oversight of the great personality of the victim and the humanistic side of the issue and his story.

In the end, there is an extremely humane story here. This is the story of a man who was trying to get married, away from his country, and who went to his own country’s consulate with fear. There is this great person with his thinking, personality, human relations, kindness, delicacy, and nobility.

Khashoggi was a political expert who was extremely smart, intellectual and had an analytical mind. He also knew the states of Turkey and Saudi Arabia very well but all his knowledge and vision was sidelined when he entered his country’s consulate to finish the paperwork for his marriage.

He trusted that his country would never do such a thing to him, especially not in Turkey. He tested this trust four days before his disappearance, on Sept. 28. So he went to the second appointment with a sense of comfort.

Now let’s stop here and recall the scenarios developed since day one… When I explained this issue in this simple manner at a gathering, I was questioned by a know-it-all who said: “So what, everything is this simple?” This is the very thing that bothers Öztürk. The point he stresses is so overlooked that I feel like we are detached from the world of truths.

The implicit assumption of that question is this: States never do anything in such a simple, unaccounted, unplanned and random manner. Everything they do is planned in advance. Perhaps it would even be thought that he was a part of the conspiracy, even though it plotted his death.

However, the high intelligence or strategic mind we attribute to states in some occasions can be quite detached from reality. Sometimes, the truth is simpler than we think. States might not have the faintest clue about the image we have regarding image of state actions that we have. That is why the myths about the states include “leaders can’t fly, but followers talk as if they can.”

In the end, states are ruled by people, and impacted by those people’s skills, sense of responsibility and seriousness. Moreover, some states, especially big ones, may lack the ability of a small group, or a certain individual, to be organized. If you know something about bureaucracy, you can see what I mean.

If you start telling the story by saying “a murder carried out by a group of 15 people,” you see nothing in it but clumsiness and carelessness. However, many unidentified murders were probably not conducted very differently. The fact that some murders do not leave any trace behind that would reveal their carelessness or enable hot pursuit makes it impossible to hunt them down and causes us to mythologize the suspects of the murder.

In this murder, it is obvious that the critical name or the person who makes hot pursuit possible is Khashoggi’s fiancé, Hatice Cengiz. If Cengiz wasn’t waiting for Khashoggi outside the consulate and if she didn’t immediately notify people that she didn’t see him com out in the heat of the moment we would probably still be searching for Khashoggi across Turkey. The consulate might not occur to us or it wouldn’t be possible to focus the investigation there.

There are conspiracy theories based on Agatha Christie reasoning: A murder is conducted by whoever benefited from it the most. Based on this conspiracy, there are some who declare that the incident is a conspiracy against Saudi Arabia because it was harmed the most by the murder. Saudi media is attacking everyone using this logic. One blames, Turkey, another Qatar and another Iran.

We can understand the Saudi media giving credit to this conspiracy theory as it is in a rush to defend itself, but I cannot understand people in Turkey thinking in this way just because they think “nothing can be this simple.”

So, what? Did Qatar, Iran, Turkey or the U.S. put 15 people who work for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in a plane which belongs to the Saudi Crown Prince and bring them to the consulate of Saudi Arabia, calculating the time Khashoggi would be there? What kind of a reasoning is this?

Of course, this type of reasoning influenced by crime novels overlooks one very simple fact. In the case of a caught red-handed crime, if there is no gap in the explanation, this would be considered utterly inappropriate. Murderers hoping to make a gain wouldn’t commit that murder if they knew they would be caught. When they are caught they face the danger of losing much more than they hoped to win. In that case, those implementing Agatha Christie logic and trying to solve the issue with conspiracy theories should continue to waste their time in their own imaginary world.

For the murderers who committed this murder out of their high hopes for gain, the circle is tightening.

It is only a matter of time before they are caught.

No one can even imagine what they will lose when they are caught. The hands stained with Khashoggi’s blood will be broken. They will curse the moment they planned to kill him.

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