Istanbul police to search Saudi consul's residence in Khashoggi case

Istanbul police to search Saudi consul's residence in Khashoggi case
Turkish police will search the Saudi consul's residence as part of an ongoing investigation in the Khashoggi case.

2 min read
16 October, 2018
Turkish authorities will search the residence of the Saudi consul [Getty]
The residence belonging to the Saudi consul in Turkey will be searched as part of an investigation into the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish media reported on Tuesday, after a team of Turkish police investigators and prosecutors left the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul following an unprecedented eight-hour night-time search.

Earlier on Tuesday, reporters on the ground said the Turkish team, who conducted the investigation alongside a Saudi delegation, returned to their vehicles and left the premises.

They took samples with them, including soil from the consulate garden that was loaded into vans, one official present said.

Saudi Arabia had agreed to the search amid global uproar some two weeks after the disappearance of Khashoggi who went inside the building on 2 October to sort out marriage paperwork and never came out. The consulate is by diplomatic convention Saudi territory.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed - a claim Saudi Arabia has denied - with the controversy dealing a huge blow to the kingdom's image and efforts by its youthful crown prince to showcase a reform drive.

But US media reported on Monday that the kingdom is considering an admission that Khashoggi died after an interrogation that went wrong during an intended abduction.

Until Monday, Riyadh had not allowed Turkish investigators to search the consulate - officially Saudi territory - with reports both sides were at odds over the conditions.

A Saudi delegation had entered the consulate one hour before the Turkish police and appeared still to be inside as the search was conducted.

CNN cited two sources as saying the Saudis are preparing a report that his death resulted from a botched interrogation, while the Wall Street Journal said the kingdom was weighing whether to say that rogue operatives killed Khashoggi by mistake.

The search came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted, in what appeared to be a conciliatory conversation, according to official readouts.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also landed in Riyadh on Tuesday for senior-level talks on the fate of the missing journalist, with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

While lurid claims have appeared in Turkish media - including that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered - Turkey's leadership has so far refrained from pointing the finger directly at Riyadh in public comments.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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