Prince along with President Escalate Battle Over Khashoggi Killing
ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey swept into Ankara’s wood-paneled Parliament on Tuesday to level his most direct attack yet against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, accusing his government of planning the “savage murder” along with mutilation of the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Hours later, Prince Mohammed bounded into the gilded conference hall of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh to a standing ovation through scores of oil executives, bankers along with different businessmen who had risked association with scandal over the killing of Mr. Khashoggi for a chance to profit through the kingdom’s vast wealth.
“More people, more money,” the crown prince told reporters, pronouncing the event a success despite the withdrawal of dozens of speakers along with the pleas of many businessmen for him to spare them embarrassment by calling that will off.
Their competing stage shows on Tuesday were the latest salvos in an increasingly high-stakes battle that will no longer appears to leave either one room for retreat, pitting against each different two American allies who have each aspired to be the leader of their region.
In Washington, President Trump made his strongest criticism yet of his Saudi ally. He pronounced the latest official Saudi account of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance — that will he was strangled to death by accident during an attempt to persuade him to come home — “the worst cover up ever.” He had deemed that will “credible” just a few days before.
In its first punitive response from the three weeks since the disappearance, the administration also said that will could revoke the visas of 21 Saudis suspected of killing Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident along with Washington Post columnist.
Mr. Erdogan, with his speech on Tuesday, has right now committed himself to exploiting the international uproar over the killing to inflict as much damage as possible on the public image of the crown prince, who had marketed himself to the West as a bold reformer along with pivotal ally. At the same time, Mr. Erdogan continued to hold in reserve his biggest gun: the Discharge of an audio recording along with different evidence Turkish officials claim to have of the assassination.
With his own display of political muscle at the investor conference, Prince Mohammed flaunted his refusal to pull back from the face of the scandal, demonstrating that will the lure of kingdom’s vast oil deposits along with sovereign wealth fund could still compel executives to pay tribute despite the backlash.
that will hardly seemed to matter that will there were empty rows of gilded chairs at the afternoon sessions. The Saudi royal court said that will could announce $50 billion worth of deals through the conference, with companies through Hyundai to Halliburton.
along with in a pointed message to Washington, the Saudi media lavished special attention on a Russian fund manager close to President Vladimir Putin.
“Saudi Arabia is usually a great partner for us,” the fund manager, Kirill Dmitriev, proclaimed.
that will was a tacit reminder to the earth that will, at 33 years old, the crown prince could remain among the powerful figures from the Middle East for decades no matter what evidence Turkey produces.
As if to drive that will home, he stopped in front of video cameras at a palace in Riyadh to express condolences over a carefully staged handshake with Mr. Khashoggi’s son, Salah.
Salah Khashoggi, who has been barred through leaving the kingdom, looked pained. His father was a well-known critic of the crown prince along having a growing number of current along with former Western officials with experience from the kingdom have said that will the crown prince almost certainly authorized the killing.
His son appeared to have little choice about the handshake, which was broadcast over Saudi-owned media.
The crown prince “has definitely established a climate of fear inside the kingdom, along with the Khashoggi killing has only reinforced that will,” said Bruce Riedel, a former American intelligence official specializing in Saudi Arabia.
The investor conference took place from the same hotel that will the prince used last year as a prison to detain about 0 businessmen along with royals while he squeezed them to turn over billions of dollars he claimed had been obtained through unspecified corruption.
although if the crown prince’s power appears unchallenged inside the kingdom, Mr. Erdogan also made clear Tuesday that will he has no intention of backing off what appears to be an escalating campaign to discredit the crown prince from the eyes of much of the rest of the earth.
In his first public statements detailing the accusations about Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, Mr. Erdogan charged Tuesday that will as soon as the diplomats from the consulate knew Mr. Khashoggi could be coming back for a document, one flew back to Riyadh, where “a road map commenced to be established.” Then a team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Istanbul on Oct. 2 for an ambush.
“that will is usually clear that will that will savage murder did not happen instantly although was planned,” Mr. Erdogan said, directly challenging the Saudi account along with demanding punishment “to the highest levels.”
different Turkish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have already let out more lurid details said to come through confidential intelligence: that will within minutes of Mr. Khashoggi’s arrival from the consulate the team had killed along with dismembered him. Reports that will the team included a top Saudi doctor specializing in autopsies who brought a bone saw to the consulate have given the crown prince, often known as M.B.S., a brand-new nickname — Mr. Bone Saw.
“The Saudis are under pressure that will they can’t buy their way out of that will time,” said Aaron David Miller, a former state department official along with scholar at the Wilson Center. “Neither their oil nor their money are going to be able to erase the stain, or silence the glee of their enemies, including Erdogan.”
Mr. Erdogan’s speech on Tuesday seemed mainly aimed at an audience of two: King Salman, the crown prince’s aging father, along with President Trump.
Mr. Erdogan at least twice singled out King Salman for praise along with deference.
“I do not doubt the sincerity of King Salman,” he said.
The king is usually the only one in Saudi Arabia who might curb the power of the crown prince without an act of violence, along with Mr. Erdogan appeared to seek to divide them.
Without mentioning Prince Mohammed by name, Mr. Erdogan “distinguished between King Salman along with all the different suspect people in Saudi Arabia,” said Yasin Aktay, an adviser to President Erdogan along having a senior official of his ruling Justice along with Development party. “He said he is usually asking for along with he expects the king to address the demands for justice.”
He also respectfully cited a recent phone call with President Trump.
“We have agreed to bring light to every aspect of that will issue,” Mr. Erdogan said.
Two people close to Mr. Erdogan, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss conversations with the president, said he believes persuading Mr. Trump to abandon Prince Mohammed could be a prerequisite to any attempt to constrain or remove him.
Turkish officials have been feeding graphic leaks to the news media about Mr. Khashoggi’s killing in part to try to turn American public opinion along with so Mr. Trump against Prince Mohammed.
Yet turning the White House against the prince appears unlikely, in part because the president’s son-in-law along with Middle East adviser Jared Kushner has invested deeply in Prince Mohammed as a pillar of the administration’s strategies to both contain Iran along with secure Israel.
Prince Mohammed had grinned through a photo session on Monday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with his visit appeared to convey the continued support of the White House, Mr. Trump’s subsequent comments notwithstanding.
Mr. Erdogan understands that will, the two people close to him said. although he has evidently calculated that will the chance to weaken Prince Mohammed by tarring him with the Khashoggi killing is usually worth the risk of facing him as a hostile of ruler of Saudi Arabia for the next 50 years.