Turkey Confirms US-Based Saudi Journalist Murdered in Hit Squad at Saudi Consulate
<ISTANBUL> OCT. 11
Turkey has concluded that Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist from Saudi Arabia, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week by a Saudi team sent “specifically for the murder,” two people with knowledge of the probe said Saturday.
Turkish investigators believe a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia. It was a pre-planned murder,” said one of the people. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
They offered no specific evidence to back up the account. Earlier Saturday, however, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office had opened a probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance. Turkish authorities have said that Khashoggi never left the consulate.
Saudi Arabia had vehemently denied that Khashoggi, who contributed to The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, was detained after he entered the mission.
In an interview with Bloomberg News last week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived Tuesday. Saudi officials have yet to provide any evidence for that assertion.
Interestingly, there may be more evidence to come as it is alleged that the victim wore an Apple i-watch, which was running a recording and told his fiancé that she should contact Turkish authorities if he did not return from the consulate.
Technically, the Consulate is Saudi territory but many international legal experts say that it does not give Saudi Arabia the right to conduct a hit on a journalist; rather, if the Kingdom had some issue with him, they could have charged him and extradited him to Saudia Arabia to face legal proceedings.
The killing was designed perhaps to instill a chilling blanket of terror on all writers. Foreign leaders have been critical but circumspect in their remarks. Saudi Arabia buys hundreds of millions of dollars of arms from Western nations, and it is predicted that economics will trump morality, especially as regards leaders like Trump.