Istanbul’s chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan said in a statement that the 59-year-old Washington Post journalist’s body was then ‘cut into pieces and disposed of’.
The statement is the first public confirmation by an official that Mr Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered after he entered the consulate on October 2 to collect paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.
Murdered: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pictured, was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul nearly one month ago, as part of a premeditated killing
The case has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia and its powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whom Khashoggi had criticised in his writing.
After initially insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, then saying he died in a brawl, the Saudi government has admitted he was killed by a ‘rogue operation’ and arrested 18 people.
Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb walks to board a plane to leave Turkey on Wednesday
‘In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled to death immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 for marriage formalities,’ the statement Mr Fidan’s office.
‘The victim’s body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation – again, in line with advance plans,’ it added.
Earlier today, Turkey cast doubt on whether Saudi Arabia was willing to ‘genuinely cooperate’ in the investigation into the murder of Khashoggi.
Not playing ball: Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb arrived in Turkey on Sunday, but meetings with his Turkish counterpart have yielded no ‘concrete results’ despite ‘good-willed efforts’ by Turkey to uncover the truth, the Turkish chief prosecutor’s office said
Blamed: Khashoggi’s death has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, pictured speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Conference, in Riyadh, last week which was boycotted by high profile CEOs
Riyadh sent the head of its own Khashoggi investigation, Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, to Istanbul this week to meet with his Turkish counterparts.
However a senior Turkish official said Wednesday that Saudi officials seemed ‘primarily interested in finding out what evidence Turkey had against the perpetrators’.
‘We did not get the impression that they were keen on genuinely cooperating with the investigation,’ the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In the statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Fidan’s office said discussions with Mojeb have yielded no ‘concrete results’ despite ‘good-willed efforts’ by Turkey to uncover the truth.
Gruesome reports in the Turkish media have alleged the journalist was murdered and dismembered by a team sent from Riyadh to silence him.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the Saudi regime to reveal the location of Khashoggi’s body and who ordered the hit.
He has also repeatedly called for the suspects to be extradited for trial in Turkey, but Riyadh has rejected the request.
The case has sorely strained relations between the ultra-conservative kingdom and the West.
France said Wednesday that ‘not enough’ was being done to find those responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, who was an insider in Saudi royal circles before going into self-imposed exile in the United States last year.
‘This crime has to be punished and the perpetrators identified. The truth needs to come out,’ Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
Mojeb, who was the first Saudi official to acknowledge that the killing was ‘premeditated’ based on the results of Turkey’s investigation, arrived in Istanbul on Sunday.
He met with Istanbul’s chief prosecutor twice, visited the consulate and spoke with Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency.
Saudi Arabia first denied any role in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) before blaming his October 2 death on a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom
A tough critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate (pictured) in Istanbul on October 2 to collect a document for his upcoming marriage
Mojeb, who has not made a public statement in Istanbul, was headed for Ataturk airport on Wednesday afternoon to leave the city, Turkish broadcaster TRT reported.
Abdulkadir Selvi, a well-connected pro-government columnist for Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, accused the Saudi prosecutor of ‘working to save the crown prince by covering up the investigation rather than shed light on the murder’.
He also wrote that Mojeb was in pursuit of Khashoggi’s phone, which the journalist handed to his Turkish fiancee before entering the consulate.
In an editorial published Tuesday, the Washington Post accused Riyadh of ‘deflecting questions by pretending to investigate’ the murder.
It said the administration of US President Donald Trump was ‘playing along’ and ‘pretending to believe that the Saudis can conduct a credible probe — even though a chief suspect is the kingdom’s own autocratic ruler’.
The editorial also urged the US Congress to impose sanctions on those responsible — ‘including, if the available evidence points to him, Mohammed bin Salman – and reshape US relations with Saudi Arabia’.
The affair has tarnished the image of the crown prince, who has positioned himself as a Saudi reformer. He has denounced the murder as ‘repulsive’ and strongly denied any involvement.
Trump meanwhile has called the case ‘one of the worst cover-ups in history’, but warned against halting a Saudi arms deal, saying it would harm US jobs.
However relations between the long-time allies have cooled after the murder and on Tuesday Washington called for a ceasefire and peace talks in Yemen, where the US has faced fierce international criticism for supporting a Saudi-led coalition.
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said the US had been watching the conflict, in which nearly 10,000 people have been killed, ‘for long enough’.
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.