Turkish officials say Saudi Arabia dismembered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia and the royal family.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was a columnist for the Washington Post, walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey a week ago and hasn’t been seen since. In the week since his disappearance suspicion has grown that Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi, despite their claims to the contrary.
Now Turkish officials are reporting that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a 15-person team that flew to the consulate from Saudi Arabia and left quickly after the murder – all on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.
Turkey’s evidence is a bit murky as officials say they must protect the anonymity of their sources. However, according to the New York Times, one Turkish official said there is a video of the moment of Khashoggi’s murder. Other evidence reportedly includes flight trackers, closed-circuit television footage, intercepted communications and even a bone saw.
Turkish officials believe only high up Saudi royal officials could order this kind of assassination.
Photographs of all 15 persons believed to be involved in Khashoggi’s murder were printed in the Turkish newspaper Sabah after their names were revealed to the New York Times and the Turkish newspaper.
According to Turkish officials, one man is the chief of forensic evidence for the Saudi internal security agency, two are members of the Saudi royal guard, another was in the Saudi special forces, and others appeared to have public ties to the Saudi royal family which were deciphered via detective work from the New York Times and Twitter users.
Khashoggi resided primarily in the United States went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancé. Saudi Arabia has claimed that Khashoggi left the building freely and they have no knowledge of his whereabouts, but neither his fiancé nor anyone has seen him since entering the Saudi consulate.
Khashoggi was a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia and the royal family and Saudi Arabia’s bombardment of Yemen. He once had a more favored status in Saudi Arabia and possibly served with the Saudi intelligence in the 90s. He also famously interviewed Osama bin Laden multiple times.
The murder of Khashoggi exposes the dirty underbelly of Saudi Arabia that will make relationships awkward for its allies in Washington DC. While Trump has not publicly condemned Saudi Arabia he has called it a “bad situation” and promised to get the bottom of it.
“This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen — to reporters, to anybody, we can’t let this happen. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” Trump said on Wednesday.
According to the latest updates, Saudi Arabia has said they are willing to let Turkish officials into the Saudi consulate.
Khashoggi’s murder comes the same week 30-year-old Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova was found raped and murdered in a Bulgarian park after reporting on corruption in the European Union.