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Turkish spymaster in Washington to 'brief US senators' on Khashoggi

Turkey's spychief Hakan Fidan (R) reportedly in Washington to brief senators on Khashoggi [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 December, 2018

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Turkish intelligence chief has secretly briefed his US counterpart and leading US senators on the Saudi-sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who had criticised powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The Turkish intelligence chief has secretly briefed his US counterpart and leading US senators on the Saudi-sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who had criticised powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Turkish press reports.

Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation chief Hakan Fidan held a closed-door meeting with CIA Director Gina Haspel and several US Senators this week over Khashoggi's October 2 killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, reported Turkey's Haberturk.

On Thursday, citing Turkish sources, Doha-based Al-Jazeera  said Fidan briefed members of the Senate about Khashoggi's killing upon the request of the lawmakers.

But US sources did not confirm whether Fidan was in the US on his own initiative or had been invited by US officials, said Haberturk.

The report comes days after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed a number of leading US senators about the murder.

Senators said the briefing left them even more convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Khashoggi.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of US senators introduced a measure that says Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is “complicit” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It’s among several measures being considered after a closed CIA briefing on Capitol Hill that convinced top US lawmakers of the crown prince's role in the murder.

Introduced by a top ally of President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the resolution says the Senate “has a high level of confidence” that the crown prince “was complicit in the murder.”

"This resolution - without equivocation - definitively states that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi and has been a wrecking ball to the region jeopardising our national security interests on multiple fronts," Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator and close ally of President Donald Trump, said in a statement.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey after arriving for routine paperwork. The US resident was critical of the Saudi regime.

The strongly-worded resolution also held MBS accountable for atrocities committed during the war in Yemen and called on Saudi Arabia to end a blockade imposed by itself and three other Arab states on Qatar in June last year.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE - along with Egypt - launched a surprise blockade on Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of moving closer to Iran and supporting extremist groups in the region.

Doha denies the charges, and has said the Saudi-led blockade was aimed at making Qatar a vassal state.

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