Earlier this week Turkish media identified 15 men suspected in the disappearance of Saudi critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he visited his country’s Istanbul consulate last week.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel aired a segment on Thursday claiming that the 15 men were random tourists.
After Britain accused two Russian agents of poisoning a man in England earlier this year, the two men appeared on Russian TV claiming to be tourists going to visit the country’s famous cathedral.
Saudi Arabia appears to have taken a page out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook with a baffling response to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi critic and journalist who went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.
The investigation into Khashoggi’s wellbeing has been highly confusing, with US and Turkish intelligence leaks, the Turkish government constantly changing its official line, and little more than expressions of concern from other world leaders.
Earlier this week Turkey’s pro-government newspaper, the Daily Sabah, published photos of 15 people whom the newspaper identified as part of a Saudi intelligence team involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
They arrived at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on October 2, the day Khashoggi disappeared, and left the country later that night, Sabah reported, citing photos it said were taken at passport control.
The team traveled on two corporate jets rented from a company often used by the Saudi government, The Guardian reported, citing unnamed Turkish authorities.
Here’s the @Sabah article that publicizes the faces and names and travel movements of the alleged 15 Saudi regime operatives who entered Turkey to carry out the abduction and possible murder of Jamal Khashoggi https://t.co/6m9pA3xkAv
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) October 10, 2018
But on Thursday, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network aired a segment alleging that the media reports “falsely accused” those 15 men as suspects in the Khashoggi case, saying instead that they were “Saudi tourists.”
Al Arabiya claimed that the “misused pictures” were of random tourists flying on commercial airlines at Ataturk airport.
“Unlike what reports said about them arriving in a private jet, the tourists are shown to be in a terminal gate waiting area in an airport crowded with travelers,” the network said.
Watch the segment below:
WATCH: Who are the 15 : https://t.co/yCnnoNWf7e pic.twitter.com/fTfJFJEgNo
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 11, 2018
This form of denial from the Saudi network appears to be taken from Russia’s playbook.
Shortly after Britain accused two Russian men of traveling to England to poison a former Russian spy with nerve agent earlier this year, the two suspects appeared on national TV, claiming to be tourists going to visit the country’s “famous cathedral.”
Both men have since been identified as highly-decorated members of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU.
Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, highlighted the link, tweeting in response to Al Arabiya’s segment: “Oh good God. Saudi is pulling a Putin.
“I heard Istanbul is particularly famous for the 210 foot …read more
Source:: Business Insider