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Turkey says it may seek U.N. inquiry if impasse in cooperation with Saudis

Turkey says it may seek U.N. inquiry if impasse in cooperation with Saudis
FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) waves to the media before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) at the State Department in Washington, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas   -   Copyright  YURI GRIPAS(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Turkey is not entirely satisfied with the level of cooperation it is receiving from Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and may seek a formal United Nations inquiry over the issue if its liaising with Riyadh comes to an impasse, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Washington after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Cavusoglu said Turkey has shared the latest information on the Khashoggi killing with the United States and repeated Ankara’s stance that the truth had to come out on who gave the orders to kill the journalist.

“The cooperation with Saudi Arabia (over Khashoggi) is not at a level where we would want it to be,” Cavusoglu told reporters, adding that if liaising with Riyadh came to a standstill, Ankara could seek a formal U.N. inquiry.

Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post columnist who was a critic of the Saudi government run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

After offering numerous contradictory explanations for Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh said last week he had been killed and his body dismembered when “negotiations” to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia failed. The public prosecutor said it would seek the death penalty for five suspects in the case.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the killing was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government but has not directly accused Prince Mohammed. Saudi Arabia has denied that the prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia, despite saying that the Saudi crown prince may have known about the plan to murder the dissident journalist last month.

Turkey has also handed to the United States a list of 84 individuals that it wants extradited, Cavusoglu said, over their links with Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt. Gulen denies involvement.

He added that Ankara had passed on the list following a telephone conversation between Erdogan and Trump.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Washington and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; editing by James Dalgleish)

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