GeoBrief: The mysterious Khashoggi case

The Jamal Khashoggi case opens a new page in the Turkey-Saudi relationship and in the way in which the West will, from now on, perceive Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Bin Salman –the young prince who has been a subject of much criticism in recent years.


His death on October 2nd 2018 within the premises of the consulate of Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey is covered under a veil of secrecy which might suggest the possibility of covered operation by Saudi Arabia’s secret services on Turkish soil. It is believed that he was taken alive from the consulate and moved to a place where he was murdered, and that his body was transferred covertly to Saudi Arabia.

Politically speaking the killing of Khashoggi has all the characteristics of a classic case of “taking-out” somebody who criticized heavily Saudi Arabia’s authorities. However, the paradox is that Khashoggi –who maintained a column in Washington Post– was not a typical case of an anti-regime personality. He served for years as Prince Turki al-Faisal’s personal assistant who was the Saudi ambassador in London and Washington.

Yet over the past years Khashoggi turned into a harsh critic of Bin Salman particularly in terms of the controversial war in Yemen against the Houthis –that also constitutes a major humanitarian crisis for which no member of the international community seems to care enough. The most interesting element in this case is how it will impact and shape the dynamics in the Ankara-Riyadh relationship given the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey’s strategic aims regarding both Qatar and the involvement of these countries in the Syria conflict. Even more interesting would be the scenario of Khashoggi still being… alive.

By Giannis Ioannou

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