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Khashoggi's death will not impact relations between US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia — expert

Senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Dolgov reminded that both Washington and Ankara are interested in economic and investment cooperation with Riyadh

MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not drastically change the relations between Riyadh, Washington and Ankara as practical interests of the three countries will prevail, senior research fellow at the Center for Arabic and Islamic Research at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Dolgov told TASS.

"The Khashoggi tragedy is being covered by almost all influential media, it is also being discussed from the point of view of relations between the countires, in particular between the US, Saudi Arabia and Tukrey," Dolgov said. "Despite how tragic the situation is, the death of the famous journalist, member of one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia, is not likely to drastically impact the relations between these countries."

The expert reminded that both Washington and Ankara are interested in economic and investment cooperation with Riyadh. "From the practical side, Saudi Arabia is US strategic partner in the region, including in the sense of opposing Iran. One should not forget about Sunni-Shia tensions that have long existed between Saudi Arabi and Iran, and these tensions are in line with the interests of the US and Israel," Dolgov explained. "In the economic sphere, 400 billion US dollars worth of contracts made with Saudis, including 110 billion US dollars in military contracts, determine US interest in Saudi Arabia as an economic partner."

"If we talk about relations with Turkey, one should remember that at the beginning, when this incident started being discussed, Ankara's rhetoric toward Riyadh was rather aggressive - representatives of the media, parties, public organizations made statements while the leadership stayed quiet. This is understandable as Turkey is interested in investments from Saudi Arabia, which are rather significant," Dolgov stressed.

"Now, when Turkey's economy is going through hard times, this [Saudi investment] is very important for Ankara. I don't think that the incident with Khashoggi will lead to any significant shits in Saudi-Turkish relations. I am confident that the practical interests of the sides will win," he added.

The expert did not rule out that the contradictions between special services may be behind the death of the journalist and the ensuing controversy in the media. "Khashoggi planned to divorce his wife, who was a citizen of Saudi Arabia, and marry a Turkish citizen. He planned to live in Turkey, which means he was in contact with Turkish authorities. If such contacts were present, one could assume that interests of Turkish special services also played a part in the case. That is why they had to coordinate their position on his death, and they accused Saudi Arabia," Dolgov said.

"If we think about Khashoggi's previous activities, there are some reports that claim that he met with [former leader of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization banned in Russia] Osama bin Laden," the expert reminded. "It is evident that a meeting with bin Laden was only possible with approval and assistance of the special forces. It is possible that contradictions between special services played their part in Khashoggi's fate and in drawing international attention to this matter," Dolgov concluded.

On Saturday, Saudi officials said the fight at the consulate resulted in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death. Saudi law enforcement agencies arrested 18 people they believe are connected to the case. The Saudi public prosecutor also said that Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri have been sacked from their position over the incident.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, known for his criticis of Saudi Arabia's current policy, left his home country and moved to the United States in 2017. The journalist wrote articles for The Washington Post, analyzing the situation in Saudi Arabia and the country's foreign policy, and criticizing Riyadh.

The journalist arrived to the consulate general of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2 to complete routine paperwork and has not been in contact since then.