Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that evidence showed the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi was “brutal” and “premeditated.”
The accusation, which contradicts Saudi claims that the dissident journalist died after a “quarrel” at its Istanbul consulate, could further inflame the diplomatic crisis over the case.
“It appears that the squad who planned and executed the murder had been informed of Jamal Khashoggi’s visit,” Erdogan said in a much-anticipated speech in parliament detailing what Turkey believes happened to the Saudi critic after he entered the building on Oct. 2.
After vehement denials that Saudi officials were involved in his disappearance, the Saudi prosecutor on Friday admitted the writer had died after a “suspect” traveled to Istanbul to meet with him. The discussions “did not go as required” and Khashoggi died in a subsequent fight, the prosecutor said.
Erdogan said a team of Saudis arrived in Istanbul the day before Khashoggi was killed, and cameras outside the consulate were disabled the same day Khashoggi disappeared.
* On Oct. 1, a team of three [Saudis] landed in Istanbul and went to the consulate. Another consulate team went to Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest and the [neighboring] Yalova province.
* Then another group came and this 15-member team went to the consulate on Oct. 2 morning and removed the hard disks of security cameras there.
* Khashoggi went inside in the afternoon and never left. His fiancée notified Turkish authorities about his disappearance. Our officials checked the security camera footage in the neighborhood and confirmed that Khashoggi never left the building.
* The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation and found out that 15 Saudis including intelligence officers and forensics experts came to Turkey ahead of Khashoggi’s visit.
* One of them tried to appear like Khashoggi by donning his clothes, glasses and a fake beard, before leaving Turkey with the others.