There have been several developments in the investigation of missing Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
According to an anonymous source familiar with the investigation cited by CNN, Turkish authorities have audio and video evidence showing that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd.
The Washington Post also reported that the Turkish government had told US officials that it was in possession of audio and video recordings proving that Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate, citing anonymous US and Turkish sources. The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in. Afterwards they killed and dismembered him, according to the unnamed officials.
US and Turkish authorities have not confirmed this yet.
As of October 12th, the certain things are that Khashoggi entered the consulate, there is footage of it. There is, however, no footage of him ever leaving the premises. Thus, he was either killed or abducted and being held somewhere.
According to the Washington Post, US Intelligence officials intercepted communications of Saudi officials “discussing a plan to capture him.” According to the outlet, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered for the journalist to be “lured” to Saudi Arabia. However, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. “had no advanced knowledge of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.”
The CIA and the Director of National Intelligence’s spokespersons declined any comment on the incident.
On October 11th, NBC News reported that the Saudi journalist checked his cellphone before entering the consulate, but he never read messages sent to him minutes later.
On October 10th, US President Donald Trump said he had spoken to Saudi officials at the highest level. “This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen to reporters, to anybody,” Trump said. “We can’t let this happen, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” He did not however elaborate on what recourse would be taken.
On October 11th, Trump said that US investigators are launching a probe into the disappearance after senators from both parties demanded for the White House to begin an investigation.
The US President, however, seemed uninterested in Khashoggi’s fate and did not wish to accuse the Saudi side. “This took place in Turkey and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen,” he commented in front of reporters in the White House. “I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s being poured into our country, it would not be acceptable to me.” Thus, the importance of selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and making profit is more important than a person who isn’t even a US citizen, just a resident.
CNN cited Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker who claimed that US intel “points directly” at Saudi Arabia and that the journalist had been killed. He further said that said the Saudis need to “produce” the 59-year-old father of four to dispel concerns.
Turkey currently believes that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. They received permission to search the Saudi Arabia consulate, however no timeline has been provided saying when that might happen. The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul has already opened a formal investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intensified pressure on the kingdom by telling reporters Thursday that “we cannot remain silent to such an incident.”
As reported by CNN, Turkish authorities believe that 15 Saudi men who arrived in Turkey on October 2nd are connected to the disappearance.
Sabah, a private Turkish newspaper, on October 9th listed 15 names alongside photographs of men who authorities believe were flown into Istanbul from Riyadh. The state-run Anadolu news agency later published similar details on eight of the individuals. None of those identified by the Turkish outlets have come forward since their identities were published.
One of the Saudi men was identified by Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency and Sabah as Salah Muhammed al-Tubaiqi. He is listed on an official Saudi health website as the head of the forensic medicine department at the interior ministry.
British business tycoon Richard Branson said that due to the disappearance of the journalist he is pulling out of two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and has suspended discussion with Riyadh about a $1 billion investment in Virgin’s space companies.