ISTANBUL (Halbeeg News) – Turkish authorities concluded that prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources revealed.
Mr. Khashoggi, former general manager of the Al Arab Media Group and columnist for the Washington Post, disappeared on Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul,
Two Turkish sources privy to the development said Khashoggi was killed at the consulate where he sought to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage, according to his fiancee, who waited outside. He has not been heard of since.
“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,” one Turkish official told Reuters.
Turkish police believe that Mr. Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi mission in Istanbul, according to another source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day,” the official told AFP.
Reports say 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi entered the premises.
The Saudi team was sent “specifically for the murder”, according to the sources.
One Washington-based Turkish scholar, Selim Sazak quoted by Independence said he was told by a senior Turkish official that the news about Mr. Khashoggi was “not good. And by not good, I mean terrible.”
He said he was told by senior Turkish officials that though they have yet to find forensic evidence suggesting murder, circumstantial evidence Turks have collected indicates a possible Saudi operation targeting Mr. Khashoggi after he initially visited on Friday, when he was told to return Tuesday to finish up paperwork ahead of a marriage to a Turkish woman, Hatice Cengiz.
“They don’t know that Jamal Khasoggi was murdered,” Mr. Sazak told The Independent, summarising conversations he’s had with Turkish security contacts.
“They know that he came in, didn’t come out. They saw unusual personnel activity, including uncredentialed personnel, coming to the embassy almost immediately after Jamal Khashoggi’s first visit so they think they were dispatched from Riyadh, and they speak of an unknown staffer, acting like he was moving out of the embassy, packing stuff into his trunk, and leaving at the end of business the day Jamal Khashoggi disappeared.”
Saudi Arabia on Sunday dispelled reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing earlier this week, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited a diplomatic officer who categorically denied “these baseless allegations, and expressed his doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorised to comment on the issue”.
The official quoted by SPA underlined that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the safety and well-being of all its citizens, wherever they may be, and that its authorities “are diligently following up on this matter to uncover the complete facts”.
News agencies contributed to this report