A high-level Turkish official says police have found “certain evidence” during their search of the Saudi Consulate showing that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there.
The official did not provide details on the evidence that was recovered during the hourslong search at the diplomatic mission that ended early Tuesday.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Turkish officials say Saudi agents killed and dismembered the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation “baseless,” but U.S. media reports suggest the Saudis may soon acknowledge Khashoggi was killed there, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.
Some materials at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi disappeared two weeks ago have been painted over, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earier on Tuesday.
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Speaking after Turkish police entered the consulate for the first time and searched the premises for nine hours, Erdogan also told reporters that they were looking into toxic materials at the mission.
Turkish officials have told Reuters that authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, and have shared evidence with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United States. Saudi Arabia has denied any role in Khashoggi's disappearance.
"My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.
A Turkish diplomatic source said the investigators planned to widen their search on Tuesday to the residence of the Saudi consul. Turkish television channels have previously shown footage of a large vehicle leaving the consulate two hours after Khashoggi vanished and parking at the consul's residence.