Saudi Arabian officials have conceded complicity in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The time has come to shed light on Turkey’s position in the matter. It is recognized by many that the main battle was not between Khashoggi and the Saudis, but rather a clash between Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The struggle is not over the death of the journalist, but rather for control of the entire Sunni world.
Turkey under Erdogan seems to be headed in the same direction Iran is today—an oppressive, tyrannical, Islamic leadership with a so-called democracy. Such a happenstance would make it as difficult for the United States to have a working relationship as does that of Iran. Rather than fostering a rapport with the West, Turkey’s leader seems determined to destroy the association by the choices he makes.
Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian Embassy but did not walk out. It appears that an attempt was made to drug him and return him to his home country to stand trial for charges against the Saudi government. According to some sources, Khashoggi was not garroted; instead he stopped breathing after he was drugged.
Article 6 of Saudi Arabian basic law states it is “punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine of not more than SAR 3 million [$800,000] or one of these penalties for a number of crimes, including the production of anything that violates public order, religious values, morals, the inviolability of private life, or preparation, transmission or storage of it through the Internet or a computer.”
I was quietly told – first in Israel by a former high-level member of the Mossad, and later in a meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials – that Crown Prince bin Salman approved the mission to arrest Khashoggi and bring him to justice, as Israel had done with Adolf Eichmann. Unfortunately, the persons charged with secretly arresting the journalist and flying him back to stand trial for incitement accidentally killed him with an overdose and then panicked. It was then that the cover-up ensued.
Shortly thereafter, I flew to the United Arab Emirates and heard the story repeated twice more. While in the various countries, I met with His Royal Highness Crown Prince bin Salman, the Saudi deputy prime minister, and defense minister.
Despite rabid finger-pointing by Turkey, the Saudis were well aware that cameras were trained on consulate corridors. The main issues are the video and the quote from the Turkish paper, the government-run mouthpiece for Erdogan.
Turkish officials immediately leaked the Khashoggi affair to Al Jazeera, the official television channel in Qatar—a country at odds with Saudi Arabia. Since the death of the journalist, the station has offered a 24/7 discourse on the matter, using any means to implicate the Saudi Crown Prince. Information that Khashoggi had asked his fiancé, Hatice Cengiz, to personally contact Erdogan’s aide, Yasin Aktay, should he not return from the consulate. That direct link to Turkey’s president was deemed undesirable and prompted an order that Aktay halt appearances on Al Jazeera, and to stop making references to Erdogan.
Leaks from Turkish intelligence (MIT) regarding events inside the consulate are so detailed that one has to wonder how, when, and why clandestine devises were planted inside the building, as well as the home of the Saudi consul. MIT must have known that an attempt to kidnap Khashoggi was imminent. Not surprisingly, Erdogan has failed to present taped recordings of conversations inside the Saudi consulate that were made days before the death of the journalist. Any speculation on the why must include the theory that the Turkish president knew of the plan only to return Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia.
Recognizing the tension between the journalist and the Crown Prince because of personal attacks by Khashoggi in the Washington Post, knowing that 15 Saudi nationals had arrived on private planes that same day, he was allowed to walk inside the consulate. According to one unidentified source in Saudi, “No one was authorized to kill Khashoggi. We knew we had every right to smuggle him out and arrest him, as he is a Saudi citizen.”
I was in a delegation that had a two-hour meeting with the Crown Prince, and told him the story of “Operation Eichmann.” I knew it well because Isser Harel, who planned the operation, shared it with me at his home one evening over dinner.
At the close of World War II, Adolf Eichmann assumed various aliases and identities in an attempt to elude Allied authorities and evade responsibility for his wartime atrocities. Eichmann was the Nazi transportation administrator assigned the duty of ensuring that trains packed with Jews heading to the death camps were kept in good working order.
In 1960, the Mossad, Israel’s Intelligence Agency, then headed by Isser Harel, planned and executed “Operation Finale.” The intelligence agents tracked Eichmann to his village, drugged him and brought him to Israel. There, the fugitive stood trial on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against the Jewish people.
He was convicted in 1961, and after all appeals were exhausted, he was hanged. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered across the Mediterranean. Such was the plan for Jamal Khashoggi, a plan that went awry, resulting in his death.
I told the crown prince that I believe he did the same thing and drugged Khashoggi to bring him back and charge him with incitement, but the drug killed him. The Prince never denied it; he simply talked about how unfortunate the whole event was. He said “even a prince can make a mistake.”
Who or what inspired Erdogan to become involved in the turmoil surrounding Jamal Khashoggi’s death? There is one simple answer: the Muslim Brotherhood. In meetings with the Crown Prince in Abu Dhabi and with Egyptian president Sisi, it was apparent that organization is hated in their countries. Erdogan has welcomed them with open arms, providing assistance and asylum, granting members the right to congregate and strategize against Sisi’s government.
It appears that Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood are one, and that included sympathizer, and colleague Jamal Khashoggi. President Erdogan sacrificed his friend in order to implicate the Saudis and particularly Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. The Washington Post journalist was the pawn in Erdogan’s game. He was sacrificed in order to get to the king—or in this case, the Crown Prince.Mike Evans is a
#1 New York Times bestselling author with 89 published books, including
The New Hitler. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.
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