Turkish prosecutor says journalist Khashoggi was strangled, dismembered, ‘destroyed’ in planned killing at Saudi consulate
- The statement is the first official description by Turkish authorities of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
- Location of Khashoggi’s remains still a mystery
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of a premeditated killing, and his body was dismembered before being “destroyed”, a top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday.
A statement from chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan’s office 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.
“In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled and killed immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia,” the prosecutor’s office said.
“The victim Jamal Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation, again in line with the advance plans,” the two-page statement read.
The statement is the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered after he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2 to collect paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.
The announcement came as Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor, Saud 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 Khashoggi’s remains, which still have not been found, as well as who ordered the journalist’s slaying.
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.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old columnist for The Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork for his marriage to his fiancée, who was waiting for him outside.
Turkey claims a Saudi hit squad – including a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage – travelled to Istanbul to kill the journalist and then tried to cover it up.
Under mounting pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its narrative about Khashoggi’s killing several times, eventually admitting that Khashoggi died inside the consulate and only recently acknowledging that Turkish evidence shows his killing was planned.
Saudi Arabia has not commented on the prosecutor’s visit.
But Fidan’s office said the Saudi delegation submitted a written statement and invited the Turkish delegation to come to Saudi Arabia bringing “evidence obtained during the course of the investigation.”
The Saudi representatives said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains and whether the killing was premeditated or not would only come to light through a joint interrogation by Turkish and Saudi investigators, according to the statement.
The statement said Turkey renewed its request for the 18 suspects to be extradited. It did not say if Turkish officials would travel to Saudi Arabia.
On Wednesday, a lawmaker and spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party again called on Saudi Arabia to reveal where Khashoggi’s body is, who gave the orders for the killing and who the alleged Turkish collaborator is.
“Instead of trying to find out what (evidence) Turkey has, Saudi authorities should give the answers to these questions,” Omer Celik told reporters. “This is not an incident that could have taken place without a high-level order.”
Celik added: “We are not blaming anyone in advance but we will not allow anything to be covered up.”