Turkish Investigation Into Khashoggi's Death Expands to Wooded Area Outside Istanbul

Turkish police have established that two vehicles belonging to the Saudi consulate left the building on the day of the murder

A man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, walks toward the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul before writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, October 2, 2018
,AP

A Turkish official says investigators are assessing the possibility whether the remains of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have been taken to a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul or to another city, if and after he was killed inside the diplomatic mission earlier this month.

The official told The Associated Press on Friday that police have established that two vehicles belonging to the Saudi consulate left the building on October 2 — the day Khashoggi had walked into the consulate and vanished.

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The official says one vehicle went to the Belgrade Forest outside Istanbul while the other traveled to the city of Yalova. It's unclear if police had already searched these areas. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the secrecy of the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile on Friday, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said allegations regarding the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be totally unacceptable if true but any response by Britain would be "considered".

"Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter," Hunt told BBC radio. 

"Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered... (but) in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values." 

A former head of Britain's MI6 overseas intelligence agency said Khashoggi was probably killed on the orders of people close to bin Salman.

John Sawers, who headed MI6 between 2009 and 2014, said "all the evidence points to it being ordered and carried out" by people close to Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.

Sawers told the BBC that "I don't think he would have done this if he hadn't thought he had license from the U.S. administration to frankly behave as he wished to do so."

Sawyers said the fate of Khashoggi was a wake-up call to the Trump administration about "just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with United States."

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh denies the allegations. 

Speaking from Albania on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey has not shared any audio recordings of the killing with anyone. He was responding to a report alleging that it had passed on information to the United States and its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who held emergency talks in Saudi Arabia and Turkey this week. 

"We will share the results that emerge transparently with the whole world. We have not shared any information at all with any country," he said.