Turki bin Faisal Al Saud
|Turki bin Faisal Al Saud|
|Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud|
|Predecessor||Omar Mahmood Shams|
|Successor||Nawwaf bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud|
|Predecessor||Bandar bin Sultan|
|Successor||Adel Al Jubeir|
|Spouse||Nouf bint Fahd bin Khalid Al Saud|
|House||House of Saud|
15 February 1945 |
Turki bin Faisal Al Saud (born 15 February 1945), known also as Turki Al Faisal, is a member of the House of Saud, the Saudi Arabia royal family. He is one of the founders of the King Faisal Foundation and serves as Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
From 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the Director General of Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah, Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, and subsequently served as ambassador to the Court of St. James's and the United States.
Early life 
Prince Turki was born on 15 February 1945 in Mecca. He is the eighth and youngest son of the late King Faisal and Iffat Al-Thunayyan who died on 17 February 2000. He is full-brother of Mohammed bin Faisal, Saud bin Faisal, Luluwah bint Faisal and Haifa bint Faisal.
Turki bin Faisal received his primary and some secondary education at a school in Taif built by his parents. When he was fourteen, his father sent him to Princeton, New Jersey to complete his secondary education at the Lawrenceville School, from which he graduated from in 1963. He then attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, graduating in the class of 1968 (alongside future U.S. President Bill Clinton). Turki has also done post-graduate work at Princeton, Cambridge, and the University of London, where he took courses in Islamic law and jurisprudence.
Director of Saudi Arabia General Intelligence Directorate 
Prince Turki began his political career as deputy to his uncle, Kamal Adham, and then, his successor as the head of Saudi Arabia's Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah (General Intelligence Directorate), a position he held for 23 years—from 1979 until 10 days before the September 11 attacks in 2001. He took part in organizing a military operation to remove the hostage-taking terrorists from Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) in Mecca during the Grand Mosque Seizure in November–December 1979. Prince Turki's resignation was unexpected since his term had been extended on 24 May 2001 for another four-year. He was replaced shortly before 9/11, on 1 September 2001, by Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz.
Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda 
Prince Turki has been controversially associated with al-Qaeda. As head of Saudi intelligence, he met Osama bin Laden alongside Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives several times during the 1980s in efforts to support him in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Saudi intelligence joined Pakistan's intelligence service and the CIA in funding the mujahideen. Turki had met with bin Laden five times. Turki had his last meet with bin Laden in early 1990 in which bin Laden was interested in aiding against the South Yemen communists. His intelligence agency kept careful track of bin Laden from the beginning of his rise.
In 1993, he helped mediate between warring factions in Afghanistan. In early 1996, Sudan offered to extradite bin Laden to Saudi Arabia. Clinton called on Turki to bring bin Laden back to Saudi Arabia for a quick execution. Saudi Arabia denied the request and Osama left Sudan for Afghanistan.
A continued connection to bin Laden was falsely claimed by Paris Match magazine. In December 2004, Turki accepted substantial libel damages and an apology from the magazine Paris Match over claims he himself was linked to the 11 September attacks.
In 2002, Prince Turki was named in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit by the families of 11 September victims, alleging that he and other Saudi princes, banks, and charities may have funded the terrorists involved in the attack. His involvement was also strongly implied in the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 911. A reporter for the Baltimore Chronicle claimed he was flown out of the United States shortly after the terrorist attacks, but the claim disappeared from later versions of the article. Prince Turki described Fahrenheit 911 as "grossly unfair" to Saudis.
Prince Turki maintains that he has had no contact with bin Laden since shortly after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. He claims to have secretly negotiated with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in 1998 in an attempt to have bin Laden extradited to Saudi Arabia, but the negotiations were unsuccessful. In a November 2001 interview, Turki expressed support for the US operation in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In December 2004, Turki was awarded libel damages from Paris Match for its claims that he was connected to the attacks. In 2005, a US federal judge ruled that Saudi officials including Turki were immune from the lawsuit. Turki has severely criticized al-Qaeda, calling it an "evil cult."
Ambassador to the Court of Saint James in London 
Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz bin Faisal Al Saud was appointed ambassador to the Court of Saint James in London. He served as ambassador from January 2003 until the US invasion in Iraq and was well respected by British diplomats.
Ambassador to the United States 
In July 2005, it was announced that Prince Turki would succeed Bandar bin Sultan as Saudi ambassador to the United States. He served as ambassador to the United States from July 2005 until 11 December 2006. Adel al-Jubeir succeeded him as ambassador to the United States.
Prince Turki spent much of his time as ambassador to the United States traveling around the country (he visited 37 states). Turki strongly advocated that the United States engage in direct talks with Iran over its differences concerning Iran's involvement in Iraq, its nuclear program and support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but other high-ranking Saudi officials, including Turki's predecessor as ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, were in favor of a tougher stance, believing that, ultimately, military action would probably be required to set back Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
He argued that the Palestinian-Israeli issue, not Iran, was more important for the United States. He called on the Bush Administration to revive the peace process. He also argued that diplomacy with Iran is the best way to prevent problems. The Administration disliked his stance and made it difficult for him to arrange visits to the White House. The White House preferred Bandar's more aggressive approach and welcomed Bandar instead.
Prince Turki's position in Washington became increasingly untenable. Prince Bandar's repeated visits to the White House undermined Prince Turki. On top of that, Prince Turki's goal of engaging in public diplomacy with the American people was weakened because of a shortage of money to fund the embassy and his public relations program. On the other hand, there were internal disputes over the Saudi Arabia’s Iraq policy, leading to create tensions between Prince Turki and other senior members of the royal family.
Turki was angered by the fact that when his own king had asked then Vice President Dick Cheney to meet at short notice in Riyadh, Turki was not invited to attend – an unusual omission for Saudi summit meetings. In addition, Turki's brother – the ailing, longtime Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, — did not write the post-summit briefing for Turki; Bandar did.
King Abdullah is reported to have preferred Bandar bin Sultan as the King's intermediary between Riyadh and Washington D.C. This situation may have been one of the causes that led Turki's abrupt resignation as a protest.
He abruptly resigned in early December 2006 after only 15 months as an ambassador. His predecessor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, worked in the same post for 22 years. Prince Turki came back in January 2007 after the Hajj Pilgrimage to formally deliver his goodbyes. In his January return trip, he reasserted Saudi Arabia's commitment to the people of Iraq and emphasized that the "health of Saudi Arabia's economy is linked to the health of Saudi Arabia's education system". Some analysts claim he intentionally attracted attention. He said he wanted to spend time with family. His resignation was initially released by The Washington Post, notably not by the royal court or any official source.
King Faisal Foundation and King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies 
Shortly after the passing of King Faisal, Prince Turki and his siblings established the King Faisal Foundation to invest in education in Saudi Arabia.
As Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Prince Turki has expressed his stance on a number of issues. He compared energy independence in American politics to baby-kissing. He stated that American politicians must be courageous against demagoguery. He lauded his country's efforts in education and believes that Saudis can succeed only through education. He visited India in December 2011.
9/11 attacks 
Prince Turki directly challenged Sheikh Abdullah al Turki, secretary general of the World Muslim League and a member of the Council of Senior Ulema after 9/11 attacks. In a widely read newspaper article, he argued that “those responsible for affairs of state are the rulers,” whereas religious scholars “only act in an advisory capacity.”
On 15 October 2001, Turki, writing in Alsharq Alawsat, stated “God help us from Satan. You [Osama bin Laden] are a rotten seed like the son of Noah, ... and the flood will engulf you like it engulfed him."
In interview on Saudi TV on 5 November 2011, Turki argued “The religious edicts issued by [bin Laden] are the main evidence [for his guilt] because they call for attacking American soldiers and civilians. Only those people devoid of feelings will still ask for evidence. ... Those who still call for evidence are closing their eyes to the facts and are searching for justification of [bin Laden’s] acts.”
Prince Turki criticized equating jihad with acts of terrorism by citing the resistance against Soviets in the 1980s. He disapproved of the Obama Administration's shunning of Hamid Karzai and believed Abdullah Abdullah was not an acceptable candidate to Afghanistan's diverse ethnic groups – namely, the Pashtuns and Uzbeks. He also called for a shift in U.S. strategy from the media theme against the Taliban to a more focused propaganda campaign against Al Qaeda. He voiced his urgency to the immediate resolution of the Durand Line between Pakistan and Aghanistan. He wants Afghan people to handle their own problems. He also expects the U.S. will continue to experience resistance as long as it stays in Afghanistan.
On Iran, Prince Turki warned of their growing influence in Lebanon as "foreign hands manipulating strings." Asked what he thought would be the consequences of an Israeli or U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Prince Turki responded, "Calamitous … cataclysmic, not just catastrophic." On the Iranian nuclear program, he believes that there should be a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. He believes Iranian actions have provoked worldwide opposition but at the same time suggests that Iran's nuclear program is being singled out. He believes Iran is pursuing an "explosive" path in nuclear enrichment. He stated if Iran was attacked Saudi Arabia would never grant Israeli flyover rights.
Palestine and Israel 
Regarding the Israeli occupation, Prince Turki became the Kingdom's leading critic of American foreign policy. Prince Turki reprimanded Israel for not accepting the Arab Peace Initiative, which normalizes relationship with Israel in exchange of withdrawal to 1967 borders. He described the relationship between U.S. President George W. Bush and Israel as "callous, unforgivably, and without any restraint". He accused the Obama Administration of blatant pro-Israel bias. In addition, he castigated the Obama administration for protecting Israel's nuclear program from international scrutiny and the Bush administration for undermining a Saudi-brokered power-sharing agreement between Fatah and Hamas. He called on U.S. President Barack Obama to "walk the walk" on the two state solution for Palestine and Israel. For relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he has pre-conditioned a return to the 1967 borders.
He warned that "neocon advisers, American conservatives and Zionist extremists” promoted policies “that continually throw a wrench into the progress of peace.” He referred the 2010 United States midterm elections as it “will give more fodder for these warmongers to pursue their favorite exercise – warmongering.” However, he noted "many Democrats, as well as Republicans, were also strong supporters of Israel."
In February 2010, a diplomatic row broke out at an international security conference in Munich, Germany between him and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. The Prince did not want to sit next to Ayalon because of Ayalon's "boorish" behavior in his attempt to shame Turkish ambassador on Israeli television. Ayalon then accused Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom had not "given a penny" to the Palestinian Authority. Prince Turki responded by reminding Ayalon that the Kingdom has given more than $500 million over the past five years. Ayalon apologized and shook hands with Prince Turki as a reconciliation measure. The crowd applauded. The subsequent day, Turki clarified that the gesture does not signal any change in official policy towards Israel.
Prince Turki claimed the documents "are a hodgepodge of selectivity, inaccuracy, agenda pursuit, and downright disinformation." He claimed if diplomats and leaders were not able to discuss matters that affect them through cables freely, the countries are "in trouble". He added that WikiLeaks poses a serious danger to all governments and called for meting out tough punishment for those responsible for the breach.
Domestic Affairs 
Around 2003, Prince Turki said that ‘reforming the Kingdom is not a choice, it is a necessity’.
In late March 2011, Prince Turki argued that elections for membership to the Saudi Shoura Council (the national majlis) should be realized and warned of a "failure in the Kingdom's job market".
Various positions 
Prince Turki bin Faisal is a commissioner in the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. He is deputy chairman of Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). He is also vice president of general authority of civil aviation for international organizations and was elected as first vice president of the regional bureau of Asia-Pacific within airports council international.
He taught at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is also a co-chair of the C100 Group, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum. C-100 Group encourages interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural understanding.
He visited many American universities and has lectured on the history of Saudi Arabia to improve relations between the West and Saudi Arabia. He also visited the University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Rice University, Cornell University, and Harvard University. In November 2010. he spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Prince Turki acts as one of the top speakers of the Kingdom.
Personal life 
Prince Turki is married to Nouf bint Fahd bin Khalid Al Saud, with whom he has seven children: Faisal, Muneera, Noura, Abdulaziz, Saud, Mishail, and Mudhi. His son Prince Abdulaziz won the second round of Porsche Middle East Cup. His daughter Princess Noura is assistant to vice chairman of the board of trustees and general supervisor of Effat College and Dar Al Hanan School. At a University of South Florida event, he mentioned he has grandchildren and they sometimes ask him questions about Islam.
In person, Prince Turki has been described as the antithesis of Bandar bin Sultan. Prince Turki has been described as cool-headed, soft-spoken, and avuncular. He is one of the most Westernized and educated Saudi princes.
Some who know him say Prince Turki has still problems resulted from the carbon-monoxide poisoning he suffered when staying in a camper van on a desert trip in the mid-1980s.
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Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz
|Director of Intelligence of Saudi Arabia
1979 – 2001
Muqrin bin Abdulaziz