Turkish authorities suspect that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared on Tuesday after entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, was killed inside the consulate, Turkish sources told Middle East Eye and news agencies on Saturday.
A senior Turkish police source told MEE that police believed that Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces” inside the consulate after visiting the building on 2 October.
“Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,” the source said.
An unnamed Turkish official told the Reuters news agency that Turkish police believed Khashoggi had been killed and his body then removed from the building.
“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” said the official.
Yasin Aktay, a former MP for Turkey’s ruling AK (Justice and Development) party and the man Khashoggi told his fiancee to call if he did not emerge from the consulate, said Turkish authorities had “concrete information” regarding the matter.
Speaking to CNN Turk on Sunday, Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said: “Khashoggi discussed to go there or not with his fiancee beforehand.
“Our security officials are investigating the issue in every detail. We have some concrete information, it won’t be an unresolved crime.
“We could determine his entrance but not any exit. That’s confirmed. We asked them [the Saudis], they say ‘he left,’ but there is no such thing on the camera footage.
“That’s underestimating Turkey. They are wrong if they think Turkey is as it was in the 90s. The consulate should make a clear statement.”
Aktay said he believed Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate and that Turkish authorities believed a group of 15 Saudi nationals were “most certainly involved” in the matter.
Police said about 15 Saudis, including officials, came to Istanbul on two private flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as the journalist. They left again the same day, according to MEE’s sources.
Their diplomatic bags could not be opened, a security source told MEE, but Turkish intelligence was sure that Khashoggi’s remains were not in them.
An unnamed offical from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul dismissed the claim on Sunday, describing the allegations to the Saudi Press Agency as “baseless”.
SOURCE: Middle East Eye