ISTANBUL: Turkey on Monday slammed as “unacceptable” comments by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of playing a “political game” over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey had shared recordings linked to the Saudi journalist’s murder last month with Riyadh, as well as the United States, France, Britain and other allies, without giving details of the tapes’ specific content.
In an interview with France 2 on Monday, Le Drian said he “for the moment was not aware” of any information transmitted by Ankara.
Asked if the Turkish president was lying, he said: “It means that he has a political game to play in these circumstances.”
His comments provoked fury in Ankara.
“We find it unacceptable that he accused President Erdogan of ‘playing political games’,” communications director at the Turkish presidency Fahrettin Altun told AFP.
“Let us not forget that this case would have been already covered up had it not been for Turkey’s determined efforts.”
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of the Saudi government, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his forthcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.
After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted the 59-year-old had been murdered at the mission in a “rogue” operation.
“Le Drian’s most recent comments on Turkey’s handling of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder does not reflect the facts,” said Altun.
He said Ankara shared evidence linked to the murder with officials from a large number of countries and that France was “no exception”.
“I confirm that evidence pertaining to the Khashoggi murder has also been shared with the relevant agencies of the French government,” he said.
A representative of French intelligence listened to the audio recording and detailed information including a transcript on October 24, he added.
“If there is miscommunication between the French government’s various agencies, it is up to the French authorities -– not Turkey -— to take care of that problem.”
[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]