The presumed murder of Jamal Khashoggi has exposed the true nature of Mohammed bin Salman’s repressive dictatorship
The furore over the disappearance, and presumed murder, of Jamal Khashoggi, a high-profile critic of the Saudi regime, has drawn two of the Middle East’s most ruthless leaders into direct confrontation. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, have much in common, not least being accustomed to getting their own way.
As enemies of free speech and a free press, Bin Salman and Erdoğan also share a dislike of brave people such as Khashoggi who speak up and hold powerful autocrats to account. Ironically, it is the fate of this liberal journalist that has sparked a crisis between these too most illiberal figures. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey were already strained by differences over Syria, Riyadh’s cold war with Qatar and Ankara’s alliance with Iran. Now it is all coming to a head.