Making A Difference

CIA Chief Receives 'Evidence' Over Khashoggi Murder From Turkey

The Saudi leadership has denied involvement in the murder and instead blamed the chain of command

CIA Chief Receives 'Evidence' Over Khashoggi Murder From Turkey

Turkish intelligence has shared "all the evidence" over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the CIA chief during a visit, pro-government media reported on Wednesday.

CIA Director Gina Haspel visited the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday for talks with officials about the killing of Washington Post contributor Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate.

Video images and audio tapes as well as evidence gathered from the consulate and the consul's residence were shared with Haspel during the briefing at the Turkish Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Sabah newspaper reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stopped short of pointing the blame at the Saudi leadership for the death of the Saudi insider-turned-critic.
But he said in a keynote speech on Tuesday that the murder was meticulously planned, demanding that all those involved brought to justice.

Khashoggi, 59, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi mission to obtain documents for his wedding.

Speaking at a ceremony in Ankara, Erdogan on Wednesday vowed that Turkey would not allow the culprits to get away with their "savage murder".

"We are determined not to allow any cover up of this murder and for all those responsible from those who gave the command to those who executed it -- not to escape justice," he said.

"We are not implicating anyone," he added, saying that Ankara would be transparent as it gathers more evidence that shed light on the "dark sides" of the murder.

"It is not over yet," he said. "We are unravelling, dismantling (the case) and the world is closely following." The whereabouts of Khashoggi's corpse still remain unknown.

Erdogan said on Tuesday that a 15-person team came from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi, including by carrying out reconnaissance outside Istanbul and deactivating security cameras at the consulate.

Turkish police searched the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, and the consul general's residence as well as hunting for evidence in an Istanbul forest.
On Tuesday, the police searched an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate in an underground car park in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul.

The Saudi leadership has denied involvement in the murder and instead blamed the chain of command.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "strongly said that he had nothing to do with this, this was at a lower level," US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, adding he had spoken on Monday to the prince and his father King Salman.

Turkish pro-government media has claimed that Ankara has audio tapes of the killing.

Last week, the Turkish government denied giving "any kind of audio tape" from the investigation to any US official.

Khashoggi -- a fierce critic of Riyadh's human rights violations and of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies -- disappeared after entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 for paperwork needed for his planned marriage.

Earlier, there were reports that Khashoggi's severed fingers were taken back to Saudi Arabia and presented to the Crown Prince as a "macabre trophy" after the murder.

For the first two weeks, the Government of Saudi Arabia had said Khashoggi left the consulate through the back door.

Following a global outrage, a few days ago, the Saudi government in a statement acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in a fistfight inside the consulate and noted that an interrogation went wrong.

The Times quoted a source as saying that Khashoggi's body was rolled into a rug before handing it over.

Although President Erdogan has promised to reveal a truth "in full nakedness" on Tuesday, the daily said he does not intend to disclose the specific evidence other officials have cited.

"Some of that evidence may have been obtained through audio surveillance of the consulate in violation of international agreements.."But he remains determined to try to assign the blame for the killing to the upper reaches of the Saudi royal court, as close as possible to the crown prince." Meanwhile, Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, has been placed under police protection, a Turkish official said.

(With inputs from AFP)