Turkey Will Discover What Happened to Khashoggi 'Before Long,' Senior Official Says

'The DNA is being procured from within Turkey,' Turkish official says as others vow that they will not let Riyadh 'cover up' the circumstances of the journalist's death

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In this image made from a March 2018 video, Jamal Khashoggi speaks during an interview at an undisclosed location.
Jamal Khashoggi speaks during an interview at an undisclosed location. Credit: AP

Turkish investigators are likely to find out what happened to the body of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi "before long," a senior Turkish official said on Saturday.

The official, who declined to be identified, also told Reuters that Khashoggi's DNA samples were being obtained from Turkey.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that Khashoggi had died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate - Riyadh's first acknowledgement of his death after two weeks of denials that it was involved in his disappearance.

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"We'll find out what happened to the body before long," the senior official said. "The DNA is being procured from within Turkey. It seems there will be no need to ask Saudi Arabia at the moment."

Numan Kurtulmus, the Turkish minister of culture and tourism, said "conclusive evidence and findings" would be shared with the world following the investigation.

Turkey will not allow a cover-up of the killing, Kurtulmus said, calling it "an ugly, dreadful and inhumane case."

"Turkey will reveal whatever happened ... We are not accusing anyone in advance, but we will not accept it if anything remains covered [up]," AKP spokesman Omer Celik said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman emphasized in a phone call late Friday their "full cooperation" in regards to the separately led probes in both countries, Anadolu reported.

Khashoggi's killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, a 90 km (55 mile) drive south of Istanbul, officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Investigators were still focused on the Yalova and Belgrad Forest areas, and were looking at CCTV footage from near Belgrad Forest, the senior official said.

Investigators were also still examining traffic records of every car that went in and out of the Saudi Consulate on October 2, the day Khashoggi entered the consulate, the senior official said.

Meanwhile, a senior member of Turkey's ruling party has criticized Saudi Arabia over its acknowledgement that the Saudi journalist died in a "fistfight" at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Also on Saturday, Leyla Sahin Usta, a human rights official in the ruling Justice and Development Party, said the kingdom should have given its explanation "before the situation reached this point."

Turkish authorities, including prosecutors, forensic and security officials, have already reached some conclusions as part of their investigation into Khashoggi's death, Usta added.

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