Turkey’s top diplomat accused President Trump of turning “a blind eye no matter what” happens or is revealed in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Indeed, no matter the evidence at hand, including the CIA conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, President Trump appears unwilling to accept that evidence, wanting to keep relations with Saudi Arabia steady for financial reasons, and considering those reasons as more important than considerations like human rights or crimes perpetrated by a world leader. It was this prioritization of financial interests over human rights and the rule of law by Trump that Turkey’s top diplomat, foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, found particularly objectionable, with Çavuşoğlu saying in an interview on Turkish television, according to The Hill, “Trump’s statements amount to him saying ‘I’ll turn a blind eye no matter what.’…Money isn’t everything. We must not move away from human values.”
President Trump has issued a not very reassuring “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t” regarding the Crown Prince’s involvement in ordering Khashoggi’s murder, which happened at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey on October 2. Khashoggi had gone to the consulate to get documents for his pending marriage to a Turkish woman, but never reemerged from the consulate after entering it. According to The Hill:
Turkey’s top ranking diplomat scorched President Trump on Friday, accusing him of turning a “blind eye” to the killing of Washington Post journalist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi…His (Çavuşoğlu’s) statements came after Trump signaled this week that Crown Prince Mohammed and the Saudi government would not face further consequences from his administration over Khashoggi’s death, with the president citing America’s longstanding business relationship with the country as a reason why. “I hate the crime and I hate what is done and I hate the cover-up. And I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do,” Trump told reporters on Thanksgiving. “As I said, ‘Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.’ But I will say very strongly that it’s a very important ally. And if we go by a certain standard we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country,” he added, claiming that the CIA assessment “points it both ways” on who is responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan similarly condemned Trump’s comments, indicating the comments sent an unfortunate message to despots around the world, with Ryan saying, according to The Hill, “A clear and dangerous message has been sent to tyrants around the world: Flash enough money in front of the president of the United States, and you can literally get away with murder” and reiterating the sentiment that Trump had “whitewashed” the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s government in Khashoggi’s murder.