Erdogan: Khashoggi's 'Ferocious Murder' Was Planned, Saudi King Should Extradite Killers

Turkish president reveals new detail about investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2

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Erdogan addresses members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, Turkey, October 23, 2018.
Erdogan addresses members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, Turkey, October 23, 2018. Credit: Ali Unal,AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyup Erdogan said on Tuesday called the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi "ferocious" and demanded Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud extradite those who killed him to stand trial in Turkey.

A team of Saudi agents began arriving in Turkey the day before journalist Jamal Khashoggi's "savage" killing, and cameras at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul were removed, Erdogan said, speaking before parliament.

"Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned.... Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community," he said.

Erdogan speaks on Jamal Khashoggi death in parliament.

Erdogan, who said the issue of diplomatic immunity would also be discussed in regards to the case, was speaking at a meeting of his AK Party in parliament. He had previously promised to detail Turkey's investigation of the case.

"Why did these 15 people meet in Istanbul on the day of the murder? We are seeking answers to this. Who are these people receiving orders from?" Erdogan said, referring to the Saudi team of 15, who entered the consulate the day of the killing on October 2.

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Three men from the team went on an exploration trip to Belgrad forest in Istanbul and Yalova, a 90-kilometer (55 mile) drive south of Istanbul.

Erdogan described the murder as "ferocious" and called on the Saudi king to extradite all 18 suspects so they can be tried in Istanbul.

Before Erdogan's announcement at the Turkish parliament, skepticism intensified about Saudi Arabia's account that Khashoggi died accidentally in its consulate.

A recent stream of leaks to national and international media has increased pressure on Saudi Arabia, which is hosting an investment conference this week that many dignitaries have decided to skip because of the scandal.

After initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's fate, the kingdom gave a new story on Saturday, saying he died in a "fistfight."

Saudi Arabia said 18 Saudis were arrested and that several top intelligence officials were fired over the killing, but critics alleged that the punishment was designed to absolve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's heir-apparent, of any responsibility.

Turkey's foreign minister, meanwhile, said his country would cooperate with international bodies if they were to launch an independent probe into the Khashoggi's killing.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he's not satisfied with the explanations he's heard about the killing of Khashoggi and is awaiting reports from U.S. personnel returning from the region.

"We're going to get to the bottom of it. We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey. They're coming back either tonight or tomorrow," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a political rally in Texas.

On Monday, leaked surveillance video showed a man strolling out of the diplomatic post hours after Khashoggi disappeared into the consulate, apparently wearing the columnist's clothes as part of a macabre deception to sow confusion over his fate.

The new video broadcast by CNN, as well as a pro-government Turkish newspaper's report that a member of Prince Mohammed's entourage made four calls to the royal's office from the consulate around the same time, put more pressure on the kingdom. Turkish crime-scene investigators swarmed a garage Monday night in Istanbul where a Saudi consular vehicle had been parked.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, meanwhile, said Tuesday the investigation into the killing of Khashoggi would produce the truth about what happened and that his country was committed to ensuring "that the investigation is thorough and complete and that the truth is revealed and that those responsible will be held to account."

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in Indonesia, also pledged that mechanisms will be put in place so that "something like this can never happen again."

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