'Savage Jamal Khashoggi murder was planned days in advance' - Turkey

Gladys Abbott
October 23, 2018

"First they (the Saudis implicated) removed the hard disc from the camera system", Erdogan said. He also confirmed that a body double of Khashoggi was used as a decoy after he was killed.

Though he called for an independent commission to be set up into the murder, he added that he was confident of the full cooperation of Saudi King Salman.

This describes a network of Twitter accounts, real people and bots, that amplify Saudi government denials of involvement and harassment of dissidents. "The consul general invited a Reuters reporter to the consulate, opening a few cupboards and claiming nothing happened".

Saudi Arabia said it arrested suspects and that several top intelligence officials were fired over Khashoggi's killing, but critics alleged that the punishment was created to absolve Prince Mohammed, the heir-apparent of the world's top oil exporter, of any responsibility. He was later recalled to Riyadh and was relieved of his duties.

He continued: "This murder may have been committed on Saudi soil, however this was inside Turkish borders".

That leaves open questions such as whether the Saudi operation in Istanbul was always meant to result in Khashoggi's death or whether the original plan was to kidnap and transport him to Saudi Arabia.

On the same day another team of Saudi officials from the consulate carry out a reconnaissance of Belgrade Forest in Istanbul and the northwestern province of Yalova. "Who are these people receiving orders from?"

From there, the investigation was slow, with Erdogan citing the diplomatic protections in place at the consulate. "When the murder is so clear, why were so many inconsistent statements made?"

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Erdogan in his address to Parliament on Tuesday criticized the conflicting explanations of Khashoggi's killing and asked why Khashoggi's body has still not been recovered.

Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled Sunday that Germany will suspend exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised to take "serious" measures against the kingdom once an investigation is complete. "As of now we expect of them to openly bring to light those responsible - from the highest ranked to the lowest - and to bring them to justice", the Turkish president said.

Erdogan has still stopped short of directly pointing the finger at Riyadh, with analysts saying he preferred to authorise the leak of incriminating information to pro-government media to pressure the kingdom.

Erdogan's speech was previously pitched as revealing the "naked truth" about Khashoggi's slaying.

Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to pick up papers for his upcoming wedding to Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.

After over two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia has now admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but the kingdom's explanations are seen even by its allies as contradictory and unsatisfying. Khashoggi's disappearance gained global.

Preparations were also under way as those groups were en route to Turkey, Erdogan said, describing how a vehicle left the consulate for an "exploration mission" to the Belgrad Forest on the outskirts of Istanbul.

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