As was expected, the Tyrant of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gave a government address this morning to release the findings of the investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. With one exception, his report seems to be nothing more than what had been revealed in international news coverage over recent days. (The one exception is interesting, though.) But mostly, the address appeared to be yet another excuse for Erdogan to extoll his own leadership and attempt to burnish his country’s reputation. He threw in a number of rhetorical flourishes, calling the attack “a ferocious murder” and rejecting Saudi Arabia’s explanation about a “fistfight” gone wrong. (CNN)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun his speech, offering his “sincere apologies” to Jamal Khashoggi’s family, fiancee and the people of Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan says a group of 15 people arrived separately in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before Khashoggi entered at 1.08 p.m.

His fiancé alerted the police fearing something had happened to him. Turkish police immediately started an investigation and looked through CCTV footage.

Erdogan rejects Saudi Arabia’s explanation that the killing of Khashoggi was an accidental result of a discussion that went awry, saying it was a pre-planned and “ferocious” murder…

As I said, most of the details Erdogan released, such as the CCTV footage and the attempted use of a body double to cover up the crime, were already known and had been widely reported. But he did have one fact which is relatively new. According to Erdogan, Turkish officials discovered that the security cameras inside the Saudi embassy had been removed shortly before Khashoggi arrived. It’s not exactly as if we needed yet another smoking gun to indicate this was a premeditated murder plot, but it’s certainly one more log on the fire of evidence. The Saudis are lying through their teeth about all of this.

But Erdogan couldn’t pass up the opportunity to aggrandize himself in the process. By releasing all of this information and accusing the Saudis, he claimed that “Turkey is becoming the joint conscience of the international community.”

Really? This is the same guy who has shut down all media in his country except for the state-controlled outlets since the attempted coup of 2016. He’s thrown journalists in prison without a trial, many of whom are still completely missing if not dead. His own perceived enemies disappear in large numbers on a regular basis. Yes, the Saudis have clearly murdered a foreign journalist inside of Erdogan’s nation and he gets credit for providing additional details, but it’s not as if this absolves him of his many crimes.

As I’ve pointed out here before, Recep Tayyip Erdogan finds himself in an opportune position to benefit from the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He gets to stir up trouble for Saudi Arabia, making his friends in Iran happy. And at the same time, he gets to point the finger against someone else for committing humanitarian atrocities rather than having to address his own despicable acts. Aside from the news about the cameras being removed from the Saudi embassy, this was little more than public relations event for Erdogan.