A Turkish prosecutor says journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of a pre-meditated killing.
A statement from chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan’s office added that the Washington Post columnist’s body was dismembered and disposed of.
It also said that discussions with Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb have yielded no “concrete results” despite “good-willed efforts” by Turkey to uncover the truth.
The statement is the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi, 59, was strangled and dismembered after he entered the consulate on 2 October to collect paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.
The announcement came as Al-Mojeb ended a three-day visit to Istanbul during which he held talks with Fidan and other Turkish officials.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi.
It is also pressing Saudi Arabia for information concerning the journalist’s remains, which still have not been found, as well as who ordered his killing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also called on Riyadh to disclose the identity of an alleged local collaborator said to have been involved in disposing of Khashoggi‘s body.
Turkey alleges a hit squad from Saudi Arabia – including a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage during a US trip – travelled to Istanbul to kill the Khashoggi and then tried to cover it up.
Under mounting pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its narrative about Khashoggi‘s killing several times, eventually admitting that he died inside the consulate and only recently acknowledging that Turkish evidence shows his killing was premeditated.
Saudi Arabia has not commented on the prosecutor’s visit.
At an event in London yesterday, Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz said that she believes the Saudi regime knows where his body is buried and described him as a “martyr” who had given a “voice to the voiceless”.
Picture: Reuters/Osman Orsal