By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday he was "deeply concerned" at Turkey's description of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder as "premeditated".
Hunt’s remarks came shortly after a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the case which has drawn strong reactions from across the world.
“The world is still waiting for answers,” Hunt said on Twitter.
Khashoggi, a columnist for Washington Post, went missing on Oct. 2 after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia last week claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
Speaking at a party meeting, Erdogan said Turkey has strong evidence that the murder was preplanned.
"Murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated," Erdogan said.
On Monday, Hunt rejected the explanation provided by Saudi Arabia over the murder.
Hunt said the questions of "who authorized the dispatch of 15 officials from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul?", "when the Riyadh government first learned of Khashoggi’s death?", "why there was a delay in allowing investigators into the consulate?" and "why Khashoggi’s death was not disclosed until Oct. 19, some 17 days after it happened?" must be answered by the Saudi government.
“The actions Britain and our allies take will depend on two things: firstly the credibility of the final explanation given by Saudi Arabia, and secondly on our confidence that such an appalling episode cannot - and will not - be repeated,” Hunt added.
Also reacting to Erdogan’s speech, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said the Turkish president had directed some questions to Saudi officials.
Sky News reported the spokesman as saying that the statement by Turkish president underscores the fact that questions over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi remain which only the Saudis have answers to.