Turkish police search Saudi consul's home in Khashoggi probe

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

18 October, 2018

"Turkish sources told the Associated Press (AP) they have found more evidence backing up their claim that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered shortly after entering the compound".

A Turkish official told CNN on Tuesday that Khashoggi's body was cut into pieces after he was killed two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Many members of the US Congress, which has long had a testy relationship with ally Saudi Arabia, have issued strong criticism of the kingdom since Khashoggi's disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The team is expected to search vehicles belonging to the consulate together with a group of Saudi officials, as Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters earlier.

The next day, he appeared to more directly back the Saudis, who have denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance but are widely thought to be involved.

The crisis over Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's apparent murder at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, which USA lawmakers believe was an orchestrated hit by the Saudi government, has opened a growing rift between President Trump and congressional Republicans just three weeks before the midterms.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is in Turkey for talks following a meeting with the Saudi king and the crown prince on Tuesday.

The Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish media reported a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" confronted the writer at the consulate and his screams could be heard throughout the building.

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President Trump on the mainstream media's handling of the economy, the midterm elections, plans to cut spending, boosting America's military, deregulation, trade talks with China, the future of US relations with Saudi Arabia, his use of social media and the media's coverage of him. Local TV channels have broadcast what they said was footage of a vehicle exiting the consulate premises and parking at the residence two hours after Khashoggi disappeared.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed there although this has not been confirmed by Saudi Arabia.

The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, says the Saudi crown prince ordered an operation to trap Khashoggi.

Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul general, apparently left on a 2pm flight as security forces set up barricades outside his residence in the city.

"The Saudis are said to be preparing a cover story that will attribute Mr. Khashoggi's murder to the excesses of a team that was dispatched to interrogate him".

Speaking to journalists in Geneva amid news reports that details of Khashoggi's death may surface soon, indicating that it was an accident, United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville said potentially serious crimes had been committed and the perpetrators should be held accountable.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he did not want to walk away from Saudi Arabia over the issue as the United States relies on the kingdom in the fight against terrorism.

The controversy has blown a massive hole in Prince Mohammed's bid to promote himself as the modern face of Saudi Arabia and led to a spate of cancelations by attendees at a major Riyadh investment conference scheduled next week.

"Do this outside. You will put me in trouble", he said in the now public recording.

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