Turkish authorities believe Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul last week, Turkish sources said, in what they described as the deliberate targeting of a prominent critic of the Gulf kingdom’s rulers.
Khashoggi, a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and adviser to its former head of intelligence, left the country last year saying he feared retribution for his growing criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.
On Tuesday he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards but his fiancée, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.
“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of two Turkish officials told Reuters on Saturday.
An adviser to Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, Yasin Aktay, said authorities had concrete information about Khashoggi’s case, and he believed the journalist was killed in the consulate.
A Saudi source at the consulate denied that Khashoggi had been killed at the mission and said in a statement that the accusations were baseless.