Journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. Turkish officials allege that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi inside the consulate, and have provided evidence supporting their claim.

The Turkish government certainly has the right to bring justice to any crimes committed inside its borders. The fact that diplomatic properties are involved complicates the investigation, but does not absolve the crime. However, is there more going on here than just a murder investigation? Are there also political reasons for Turkey to pursue such an investigation?

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  • Are you asking if there is any conflict between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that would encourage Turkey not to be nice with Saudi Arabia? There is some conflict relating Syria and Qatar, IIRC. Or are you asking for something else?
    – SJuan76
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 14:25
  • @SJuan76: The question is not intended to be limited to Turkey's relationship with Saudi Arabia. Other relevant relationships to consider could include with other Mideast states, with Europe, and domestically within Turkey.
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the two biggest Sunni economies in the world, and until 2011, were aligned economically and militarily. However, they had a major difference of opinion on the subject of the Arab Spring.

  1. Turkey is a much more politically moderate and democratic than Saudi Arabia, so it supported the toppling of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes so that it might have a better relationship with the new rulers. In addition, they had no outside interest in the stability of those countries, as their relationships were pretty rudimentary.

  2. Saudi Arabia is extremely conservative and authoritarian, so the toppling of authoritarian regimes in the area is something they most certainly do not want to encourage. But they have a secondary interest: Saudi Arabia is wealthy, but even the wealthy require servants to do menial work. This workforce was previously supplied by many of the authoritarian regimes that were upended, so to disrupt the stability of those countries is to directly disrupt the stability of Saudi Arabia.

The former friends have suddenly become enemies, but Saudi Arabia has the upper hand. It's much wealthier, and has much stronger ties with major powers like the US. So Turkey has a vested interest in displaying the skullduggery that has always gone on behind the scenes in Saudi Arabia in hopes of disgusting Westerners, who will boycott Saudi Arabia and perhaps switch their allegiance to Turkey.

  • 1
    More recently the divergence between Turkey and Saudi Arabia got significantly worse because of Turkey's support of Qatar, against the Saudi-driven blockade of the country. This brought Turkey closer to Qatar and by proxy to Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-enemy.
    – Erwan
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 1:33

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