Erdogan, MbS 'could meet' on G20 sidelines for first time since Khashoggi murder
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina next week, a spokesman said Thursday, amid tensions over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder.
Such a meeting would be the first face-to-face encounter between Erdogan and the crown prince since the grisly killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month, which has tainted the image of the kingdom's de facto ruler.
"There could be" a meeting, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.
"We're looking at the programme," Kalin said, according to state news agency Anadolu.
A report later on Thursday by Turkish broadcaster A Haber said Erdogan said he would not meet with the Saudi crown prince.
Seeking to rally support from Arab allies ahead of the summit, Prince Mohammed on Thursday embarked on a regional tour starting with the United Arab Emirates, his first official trip abroad since Khashoggi's murder tipped the kingdom into crisis.
The former court insider and Washington Post contributor was killed and dismembered in what Saudi Arabia said was a "rogue" operation, but CIA analysis leaked to the US media pointed the finger at Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia has said that 21 people are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men, but attention remains focused on whether the crown prince ordered the murder despite the kingdom's denials.
The European Union on Thursday called for those "really responsible" to be held to account.
Calling for a "completely transparent and credible investigation", the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said: "For us accountability does not mean revenge."
Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government but has stopped short of directly blaming Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Erdogan and the crown prince spoke for the first time on the phone on 24 October about the case, discussing the joint efforts needed to shed light on the murder.
But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticised Saudi officials over their lack of cooperation.