Turkey has concluded that Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist from Saudi Arabia, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this 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. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to make a statement on the case on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia had vehemently denied that Khashoggi was detained after he entered the consulate.
In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived on Tuesday. Saudi officials have yet to provide any evidence for that assertion.
Khashoggi’s disappearance has drawn attention to Prince Salman’s crackdowns on his critics. It also threatened to deepen a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both regional powers that have competed for influence in the region.
Khashoggi, who writes for The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, visited the consulate Tuesday to obtain documents related to his upcoming wedding, according to his fiancee and friends.
The killing, if confirmed, would mark a stunning escalation of Saudi Arabia’s effort to silence dissent. [Continue reading…]