Turkey claims Saudi journalist killed in Saudi Consulate


By Kareem Fahim | Washington Post

ISTANBUL – Turkey has concluded that Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist from Saudi Arabia, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week by a Saudi team sent “specifically for the murder,” two people with knowledge of the probe said Saturday.

Turkish investigators believe a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia. It was a preplanned murder,” said one of the people. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

They offered no specific evidence to back up the account. Earlier Saturday, however, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office had opened a probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance. Turkish authorities have said that Khashoggi never left the consulate.

Saudi Arabia had vehemently denied that Khashoggi, who contributed to The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, was detained after he entered the mission.

In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived Tuesday. Saudi officials have yet to provide any evidence for that assertion.

The Saudi consul-general in Istanbul allowed reporters from the Reuters news agency to tour the consulate Saturday, to show that Khashoggi was not inside.

“I would like to confirm that . . . Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him,” the consul-general, Mohammed al-Otaibi, was quoted as saying.

Later Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency released a statement saying that an unidentified official at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul dismissed the reports that Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate.

“The official strongly denounced these baseless allegations, and expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue,” the statement says, in part. …read more

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