U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “shuttle diplomacy” persuaded Turkey to row back on exposing the full evidence of the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Newsweek reported on Wednesday, citing the author of a recently published book.
Khashoggi, who was a vocal critique of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Istanbul consulate of Saudi Arabia by a Saudi squad last year on Oct. 2.
The author of the book “Murder in Istanbul, Jamal Khashoggi, Donald Trump, and Saudi Arabia” told Newsweek that despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s initial calls to the international community to denounce Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s murder, Turkey had later toned down its condemnations.
The author using the pen name Owen Wilson said Turkish officials had switched their initial story that Khashoggi had endured two hours of interrogation and torture before being murdered to ten minutes.
“The change in the story followed the shuttle diplomacy by Mike Pompeo, after which Saudi Arabia finally officially admitted that Saudi officials killed Jamal Khashoggi and started legal proceedings against the death squad,” he said.
The author, who used Turkish sources in his book, told Newsweek that, while Turkey had at least seven hours of recordings from the Saudi mission between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, 2018, the Turkish authorities had only once played 11 minutes of the recording to secret-service delegations from the U.S., Great Britain, France, Canada, and Germany, while they had shared 45 minutes with a UN delegation.
According to the author, Erdoğan and bin Salman reached a “diplomatic accommodation” on the murder on Oct. 22 last year and following that Turkey scaled back revealing details of torture.