Police in Turkey believe that a missing Saudi journalist may have been killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and his body was driven out of the compound, Reuters reported on Sunday, quoting unidentified Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi, who has been a vocal critic of the Saudi regime, had gone missing on Tuesday after he entered the consulate.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to release a statement on Sunday, according to The Guardian. Government officials pledged to release evidence on Sunday to support their claim that the journalist was killed shortly after he entered the consulate. The evidence is expected to include video footage and focus on a black car.
Officials said they believe 59-year-old Khashoggi’s death was planned and Saudi officials had travelled to Istanbul from Riyadh after receiving word that he was going to visit the consulate to sign divorce papers.
After Reuters first quoted two officials as saying that the journalist had been killed, a government spokesperson circulated this claim, following which a number of other officials confirmed it. Some of them claimed to know how the body had been disposed of.
According to Turkish investigators, a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia” to murder the dissident, The Washington Post reported. They, however, offered no specific evidence to back up their claim. Khashoggi used to contribute to The Post’s opinion section.
“If the reports of Jamal’s murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act,” Fred Hiatt, the director of The Post’s editorial page, said in a statement. “Jamal was – or, as we hope, is – a committed, courageous journalist. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom. He is respected in his country, in the Middle East and throughout the world. We have been enormously proud to publish his writings.”