Turkish judicial officials say prominent Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul earlier this month, was "strangled" as soon as he entered the diplomatic mission and his body was then "cut into pieces" under a "premeditated plan."
The office of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Irfan Fidan said on Wednesday that talks with Saudi Arabiaís chief public prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, had produced "no concrete results" on the murder of 59-year-old Khashoggi as he had not shared any information, including the testimonies of the 18 people arrested, over the case.
Turkish-language Hürriyet daily newspaper reported that Mojeb was seeking Khashoggiís phone, which he gave to his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz before entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.
Officials from the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT), however, refused to provide recordings and evidence on the case to the Saudi prosecutor.
A senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also cast doubt on Saudi Arabia’s willingness to "genuinely cooperate" in the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing.
The official told AFP on Wednesday that Saudi authorities seemed “primarily interested in finding out what evidence Turkey had against the perpetrators.”
“We did not get the impression that they were keen on genuinely cooperating with the investigation,” the official pointed out.
Mojeb arrived in Istanbul on October 28 night and held talks the following day with Istanbul’s chief prosecutor.
He held a second round of talks with Fidan at the court house on October 30 before inspecting the Saudi consulate later in the day.
Mojeb visited the Istanbul office of MİT on Wednesday morning, and was headed to Istanbul Atatürk Airport in the afternoon.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Mojeb to investigate who had ordered the hit on the journalist.
Erdogan maintains that a 15-strong team traveled from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi, who had been a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman, at the Saudi diplomatic compound in Istanbul.
“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question, so you can reveal it,” the Turkish president told reporters in Ankara.
He added, “Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense to try to save certain people. There is no sense to try to protect the culprits.”
“Either the Saudi foreign minister (Adel al-Jubeir) or the 18 suspects must explain who the local co-conspirators are.
“Let’s know who this co-conspirator is, we can shed further light,” Erdogan said.
Khashoggi, a prominent commentator on Saudi affairs who wrote for The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, had lived in self-imposed exile in the US since September 2017, when he left Saudi Arabia over fears of the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on critical voices.
His death has subjected the Riyadh regime and Mohammed bin Salman to strict scrutiny. The journalistís fiancée has accused Saudi officials of a massive cover-up.