Turkish police searching for Jamal Khashoggi’s body search a DRAIN at luxury villa and remove box of evidence, two months after he was butchered at Saudi consulate
- Officers are inspecting a property in village of Samanli, in northwestern Turkey
- Forensics seen checking drains and carrying out a box of evidence this morning
- Comes nearly two months after Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Saudi consulate
- The Saudi Arabian writer’s body has yet to be found despite numerous searches
Turkish police searching for Jamal Khashoggi’s body have inspected a drain at a luxury villa, two months after he was butchered at the Saudi consulate.
Forensics arrived at the property, in Samanli village in the northwestern Turkish province of Yalova, this morning and were seen removing a box of evidence.
Drones and sniffer dogs were also being used in the search, according to reports in Turkey.
Khashoggi, 59, was butchered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month, sparking international outrage. The writer’s body has yet to be found.
A Turkish official said the house in Samanli was being searched after fresh intelligence showed one of the Saudi agents involved in the killing had called the property’s owner a day before the attack.
Turkish police searching for Jamal Khashoggi’s body have inspected a drain (pictured) at a luxury villa, two months after he was butchered at the Saudi consulate
Forensics were pictured removing a box of evidence from the property during their search this morning
Forensics arrived at the property, in Samanli village in the northwestern Turkish province of Yalova, this morning
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month by a Saudi hit squad, sparking international outrage. The writer’s body has yet to be found
The call on October 1 was reportedly made by Mansour Othman M. Abahussain, a member of the 15-man hit squad, the Washington Post reports.
He is said to have ‘placed a call from his personal cellphone’ to the Saudi owner of a ‘farm’ on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, the official said.
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Anadolu Agency said crime scene investigators and sniffer dogs were part of today’s search.
Other Turkish media reports however went further, saying police were searching for the remains of The Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.
Mansour Othman M. Abahussain (pictured), one of the Saudi agents involved in the killing called the property’s owner a day before the attack, a Turkish official said
Reuters reported last month that investigators had widened their search to Yalova and a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul for the remains of the journalist.
Officials in Turkey have previously carried out inspections at the kingdom’s consulate and the consul general’s residence in Istanbul as part of the investigation.
Saudi Arabia has been facing intense global criticism over the killing of insider-turned-critic Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate on October 2.
The murder of the journalist who wrote for The Washington Post has tipped the kingdom into one of its worst crises.
He was killed and reportedly dismembered in what Saudi Arabia said was a ‘rogue’ operation, but CIA analysis leaked to the US media pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed.
Saudi Arabia has warned criticism of the crown prince is a ‘red line’.
On Wednesday Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that calls for the crown prince to be held accountable for the grisly killing would not be tolerated.
And on Saturday, a senior Saudi prince cast doubt on the reported CIA findings, saying the agency could not be counted on to reach a credible conclusion.
Turkish police are carrying out inspections at a villa (pictured) over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
An armed Turkish police officer closes a gate at the luxury villa during the search for Jamal Khashoggi’s body today
Officers are searching a property in the Samanli village of the Termal district in the northwestern Turkish province of Yalova
‘The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude,’ Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior member of the royal family, told journalists in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The CIA has concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi and briefed other parts of the U.S. government on its findings, sources told Reuters last week.
U.S. President Donald Trump has disputed that the agency reached a conclusion on the murder, saying instead ‘they have feelings certain ways.’
A Turkish newspaper also reported on Thursday that CIA director Gina Haspel signaled to Turkish officials that the agency had a recording of a call in which the crown prince gave instructions to ‘silence’ the journalist.
Turkish forensic officers have previously searched the Saudi consulate (pictured) in the hunt for the journalist’s body
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 in an operation that Turkish authorities have said was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership, prompting the kingdom’s biggest political crisis in a generation.
After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered after negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
The kingdom’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in the murder, but has said Prince Mohammed had no prior knowledge of the operation.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Key moments surrounding the writer’s disappearance and death
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote critically of the kingdom’s policies and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say a 15-men team tortured, killed and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabia says he died in a ‘fistfight.’
Here are some key moments in the slaying of the Washington Post columnist:
BEFORE HIS DISAPPEARANCE
September 2017: The Post publishes the first column by Khashoggi in its newspaper, in which the former royal court insider and longtime journalist writes about going into a self-imposed exile in the U.S. over the rise of Prince Mohammed. His following columns criticize the prince and the kingdom’s direction.
September 28, 2018: Over a year after the Post published his first column, Khashoggi visits the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, seeking documents in order to get married. He’s later told to return October 2, his fiancee Hatice Cengiz says. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a plan or a ‘road map’ to kill Khashoggi was devised in Saudi Arabia during this time.
September 29: Khashoggi travels to London and speaks at a conference.
October 1: Khashoggi returns to Istanbul. At around 4.30pm, a three-person Saudi team arrives in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, checks in to their hotels then visits the consulate, according to Erdogan. The Turkish president says another group of officials from the consulate travel to a forest in Istanbul’s outskirts and to the nearby city of Yalova on a ‘reconnaissance’ trip.
Jamal Khashoggi (right) arriving at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2
THE DAY OF HIS DISAPPEARANCE
3.28am, October 2: A private jet arrives at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport carrying some members of what Turkish media will refer to as a 15-member Saudi ‘assassination squad.’ Other members of the team arrive by two commercial flights in the afternoon. Erdogan says the team includes Saudi security and intelligence officials and a forensics expert. They meet at the Saudi Consulate. One of the first things they do is to dismantle a hard disk connected to the consulate’s camera system, the president says.
11.50am: Khashoggi is called to confirm his appointment at the consulate later that day, Erdogan says.
1.14pm: Surveillance footage later leaked to Turkish media shows Khashoggi walking into the main entrance of the Saudi Consulate. No footage made public ever shows him leaving. His fiancee waits outside, pacing for hours.
3.07pm: Surveillance footage shows vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving the Saudi Consulate for the consul general’s home some 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
5.50pm: Khashoggi’s fiancee alerts authorities, saying he may have been forcibly detained inside the consulate or that something bad may have happened to him, according to Erdogan.
7pm: A private plane from Saudi Arabia carries six members of the alleged Saudi squad from Istanbul to Cairo, the next day returning to Riyadh.
11pm: Seven members of the alleged Saudi squad leave on another private jet to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which the next day returns to Riyadh. Two others leave by commercial flights.
Erdogan confirms reports that a ‘body double’ – a man wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and a beard – leaves the consulate building for Riyadh with another person on a scheduled flight later that day.
CCTV images showed a a private jet alleged to have been used by a group of Saudi men suspected of being involved in Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death
October 3: Khashoggi’s fiancee and the Post go public with his disappearance. Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi visited the consulate and exited shortly thereafter. Turkish officials suggest Khashoggi might still be in the consulate. Prince Mohammed tells Bloomberg: ‘We have nothing to hide.’
October 4: Saudi Arabia says on its state-run news agency that the consulate is carrying out ‘follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building.’
October 5: The Post prints a blank column in its newspaper in solidarity with Khashoggi, headlined: ‘A missing voice.’
October 6: The Post, citing anonymous Turkish officials, reports Khashoggi may have been killed in the consulate in a ‘preplanned murder’ by a Saudi team.
October 7: A friend of Khashoggi tells the AP that officials told him the writer was killed at the consulate. The consulate rejects what it calls ‘baseless allegations.’
October 8: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey is summoned over Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged killing.
October 9: Turkey says it will search the Saudi Consulate as a picture of Khashoggi walking into the diplomatic post surfaces.
October 10: Surveillance footage is leaked of Khashoggi and the alleged Saudi squad that killed him. Khashoggi’s fiancee asks President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump for help.
October 11: Turkish media describes Saudi squad as including royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert. Trump calls Khashoggi’s disappearance a ‘bad situation’ and promises to get to the bottom of it.
October 12: Trump again pledges to find out what happened to Khashoggi.
October 13: A pro-government newspaper reports that Turkish officials have an audio recording of Khashoggi’s alleged killing from his Apple Watch, but details in the report come into question.
October 14: Trump says that ‘we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment’ if Saudi Arabia is involved. The kingdom responds with a blistering attack against those who threaten it, as the manager of a Saudi-owned satellite news channel suggests the country could retaliate through its oil exports. The Saudi stock exchange plunges as much as 7 percent at one point.
Khashoggi (pictured), went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
October 15: A Turkish forensics team enters and searches the Saudi Consulate, an extraordinary development as such diplomatic posts are considered sovereign soil. Trump suggests after a call with Saudi King Salman that ‘rogue killers’ could be responsible for Khashoggi’s alleged slaying. Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the Mideast over the case. Meanwhile, business leaders say they won’t attend an economic summit in the kingdom that’s the brainchild of Prince Mohammed.
October 16: A high-level Turkish official tells the AP that ‘certain evidence’ was found in the Saudi Consulate proving Khashoggi was killed there. Pompeo arrives for meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and Prince Mohammed. Meanwhile, Trump compares the case to the appointment of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing, saying: ‘Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent.’
October 17: Pompeo meets with Turkey’s president and foreign minister in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Turkish police search the official residence of Saudi Arabia’s consul general in Istanbul and conduct a second sweep of the consulate.
October 18: A leaked surveillance photograph shows a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage walked into the consulate just before Khashoggi vanished there.
October 20: Saudi Arabia for the first time acknowledges Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, claiming he was slain in a ‘fistfight.’ The claim draws immediate skepticism from the kingdom’s Western allies, particularly in the U.S. Congress.
October 22: A report says a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office around the time Khashoggi was killed. Police search a vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate parked at an underground garage in Istanbul.
CCTV emerges showing a Saudi intelligence officer dressed in a fake beard and Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and glasses on the day he went missing.
October 23: Erdogan says Saudi officials murdered Khashoggi after plotting his death for days, demanding that Saudi Arabia reveal the identities of all involved.
October 25: Changing their story again, Saudi prosecutors say Khashoggi’s killing was a premeditated crime.
November 2: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. Earlier the same day, Yasin Aktay, a ruling party adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he believed the body had to have been dissolved in acid.
November 4: Khashoggi’s sons Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi issue appeal for his remains to be returned so that he may be buried in Saudi Arabia.
November 10: President Erdogan says Turkey gave the audio recordings linked to the murder to ‘Saudi Arabia, to Washington, to the Germans, to the French, to the British’.
November 13: Turkish media reports that the luggage carried by the Saudi ‘hit squad’ included scissors, defibrillators and syringes that may have been used against Khashoggi.
November 15: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor announces that he is seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder. Shalaan al-Shalaan said the person who had ordered the killing was the head of the negotiating team sent to repatriate him, and exonerated Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. On the same day, the U.S. Treasury announces sanctions against 17 Saudi officials, including the Consul General in Turkey, Mohammed Alotaibi.
November 16: A CIA assessment reported in the Washington Post finds that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.
November 18: Germany bans 18 Saudi nationals believed to be connected to the murder from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone. Berlin also announces it has as halted previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia amid the fallout.
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