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 it was removed, a top Turkish prosecutor said yesterday.
Chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan’s office also said in a statement that discussions with Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb over the killing yielded “no concrete result” despite Turkey’s “good-intentioned efforts to reveal the truth.”Recommended Video
The statement was the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi was strangled and mutilated after he entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2. It also pointed to a lack of cooperation from Saudi officials in the investigation of the slaying.
“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 prosecutor’s statement that Khashoggi was killed immediately conflicts with a report by pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak earlier this month, which cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi being tortured before being killed.
The newspaper claimed that his fingers were cut off and that he was killed by being beheaded.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects in the journalist’s slaying who were detained in Saudi Arabia. It also is pressing Saudi Arabia for information about who ordered Khashoggi’s killing and the location of his remains.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Riyadh to disclose the identity of an alleged local collaborator said to have been involved in getting rid of Khashoggi’s body.
Saudi chief prosecutor al-Mojeb met with Fidan twice and also visited the Turkish intelligence agency’s Istanbul headquarters this week before leaving for Riyadh on a private jet Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia has not commented directly on the prosecutor’s visit and al-Mojeb did not respond to journalists’ questions at the airport as he departed. 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.