President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to uncover the truth behind Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing, sources close to the Turkish leader have told Middle East Eye, as global outrage over Riyadh's most recent explanation grows.
Riyadh said 18 Saudis have been arrested in connection with his death and two top aides of the crown prince, as well as three other intelligence agents, have been sacked.
Before dawn yesterday, Riyadh backtracked on over a fortnight of denials by announcing that Khashoggi died during a "brawl" inside the consulate on October 2.
October 15: almost two weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance, teams of Turkish investigators enter the consulate to start their search.
An official Saudi source said on Saturday the kingdom's investigation had so far shown that the suspected killer had travelled to Istanbul to meet with Khashoggi to discuss the writer's possible return to Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi (pictured above center) was a Saudi citizen but worked for the newspaper with a temporary USA residency card.
Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, said: "We deplore the killing of Jamal Khashoggi".
Hadid said an independent investigation ordered by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would be necessary to avoid a "Saudi whitewash" of circumstances surrounding the killing or any attempts by other governments to "sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative arms deals and other business ties with Riyadh".
A security guard stands behind barriers blocking the road leading to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.
"Yes, he's not inside", the heir to the Saudi throne said.
Amnesty's director of campaigns for the Middle East, Samah Hadid, said the Saudi version of events can not be trusted.
The prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in Khashoggi's death, a Saudi official familiar with the Saudi investigation said. The kingdom has described assertions in Turkish media leaks, based on purported audio recordings that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the consulate, as "baseless".
Trump's comments about the Khashoggi incident in recent days have ranged from threatening Saudi Arabia with "very severe" consequences and warning of economic sanctions, to more conciliatory remarks in which he has played up the country's role as a USA ally against Iran and Islamist militants, as well as a major purchaser of United States arms.
According to Anadolu, Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, "It is out of the question for us to share this or that information with any country".
He added that the Khashoggi case took place on Saudi sovereign territory and it will be looked at by Saudi courts when all procedures are complete. Gen. Ahmed bin Hassan Assiri, a one-time spokesman for the Saudi military's campaign in Yemen who later became a confidant of Prince Mohammed.
Prior to the Saudi state media's confirmation, Trump told reporters in Arizona that he would "very much have Congress involved in determining what to do" in response to Khashoggi's death.
The White House acknowledged the announcement and said it would follow the internal investigations into Khashoggi's death, and "advocate for justice" that is "timely, transparent and in accordance with due process".
"As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a bad act and those responsible must be held to account".
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