Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday told the parliamentary group of his party Justice and Development (AK) that the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “planned” and the Saudi kingdom should reveal where his body is and send the 18 people arrested last week in connection with the killing to be tried in Turkey.
“Evidence shows Khashoggi’s killing was a result of a planned operation,” Erdogan told his party’s MPs.
“A Saudi team of three people landed in Istanbul one day before Khashoggi’s killing and visited forests in Istanbul and Yalova,” he said, adding that two other Saudi teams later arrived at the consulate separately.
“Saudi consulate cameras were removed and all footage was deleted from hard drives. Camera footage shows Khashoggi did not leave the consulate,” Erdoğan said. “This is a political murder,” he added.
Erdogan at the weekend vowed to release naked truth about the death of Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident journalist who had gone missing since October 2 after entering the consulate of his country for some official papers.
Erdogan’s pledge came after Saudi Arabia Saturday confessed that The Washington Post contributor who fled the kingdom last year died in a brawl inside the consulate.
The Saudis until Saturday refuted Turkish security sources claims that the 59-year old critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) was killed inside the consulate and dismembered by a 15-man hit squad that was dispatched from the kingdom to kill him or kidnap him.
After admitting the death of the journalist, the kingdom also said 18 people have been arrested in alleged connection with the crime while several top ranking officials have been removed from their positions.
Erdogan also called on the Gulf country to hand them over to Ankara so that they face justice.
“I call on Saudi Arabia’s government to permit Khashoggi killing suspects to be tried in Istanbul,” Erdoğan said.
“My demand is that 18 people be tried in Istanbul,” he insisted.
According to the Turkish leader, a local operator was involved in the killing and has allegedly taken Khashoggi’s missing body.
The Gulf country has denied being aware of Khashoggi’s body whereabouts.
However, just hours after Erdoğan’s speech, Sky News revealed that the dismembered body parts of the murdered Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, have allegedly been found in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home.
According to Sky News sources, the writer’s body was “cut up” and his face “disfigured.”
One of the sources implied Khashoggi’s remains were found in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home.