Oct 23, 2018

Erdogan says Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi government plot

Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech to the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday that Saudi officials planned the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi days before his death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and called for the suspects to be tried in Istanbul.

Why it matters: This was the first time the Turkish government laid out the details of the Khashoggi case in an official capacity, following weeks of leaks by anonymous Turkish intelligence officials to U.S. and international media.

Details presented by Erdogan:

  • On Oct. 1, a team of three people landed in Istanbul and visited the Saudi consulate, while a second team did "background work" exploring Istanbul's Belgrad Forest and the city of Yalova.
  • On Oct. 2, two more teams — one that included Saudi generals — landed in Istanbul and stayed in separate hotels. In total, 15 people met at the Saudi consulate to wait for Khashoggi and destroyed the consulate's CCTV hard drive in anticipation of his arrival.
  • After Khashoggi's death, the 15 suspects — including one who was dressed in a beard and glasses to resemble Khashoggi — left the country. The consul general also left the country after the investigation was opened.
  • Though the murder was committed at the consulate, which is considered Saudi sovereign land, it occurred within the borders of Turkey. Therefore, Erdogan argued that diplomatic immunity should be waived and the suspects tried in Istanbul.

The big question, per Erdogan: Where is Jamal Khashoggi's body?

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