Missing journalist case: Turkey waiting for permission to search Saudi consul's house
Turkey says it is waiting for an agreement to enter and search the Saudi consul’s residence in Istanbul as it continues to investigate the case of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after walking into the kingdom’s mission there.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu made the remarks to Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency on Wednesday, a day after Turkish and Saudi investigators searched the consulate for nine hours.
A search of the consul’s residence was canceled on Tuesday “because Saudi officials were not able to participate,” Reuters reported, citing Turkish police as saying.
Turkish sources unveiled that Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi had left Istanbul for Riyadh earlier that day.
Khashoggi, a US resident, The Washington Post columnist, and a leading critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, did not exit the consulate after entering the facility on October 2 to obtain documentation for an upcoming marriage.
Turkey says it is in possession of evidence which shows he was murdered inside the Saudi diplomatic mission.
Police do not know yet whether the attempt to dispose of the body took place inside the consulate or in the consul’s residence, London-headquartered website Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reported.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization is in possession of an 11-minute audio recording of “the torture and murder” of Khashoggi inside the consulate, MEMO said, quoting a Tuesday report by Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak.
Citing Turkish law enforcement sources, Al Jazeera, also reported that Saudi intelligence elements had “verbally abused and used profanity to address Khashoggi, in addition to torturing him during the first four minutes after he entered the Saudi consulate.”
“Afterwards, the journalist was heard screaming and mentioning being attacked with needles. Then, his voice faded away,” according to the Doha-based network.
Turkish officials have reportedly informed their American counterparts that they had audio and video recordings pointing to Khashoggi’s death inside the consulate.