Erdogan says evidence points to Khashoggi's murder being 'premeditated'

TEHRAN, Oct. 23 (MNA) – In his Tue. address at Turkish parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that the Saudi team of 15, involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, had drawn the plan for murder on Sep. 29.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the Turkish parliament on Tuesday to share with the world the results of investigation into journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder case.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who wrote critically of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage. A Turkish security source told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, arrived in Istanbul and entered the consulate after the Saudi journalist. Saudi Arabia finally acknowledged the murder on Friday, saying Khashoggi died in brawl inside its consulate in the Turkish city but made no mention of where his body is.

Turkish president said today that the Saudi team “that planned and executed the murder” were informed of his visit the day before. He added that investigation began when his wife-to-be reported that he was being held against his will at the consulate. Diplomatic immunity, however, prevented Turkish forces to go into the consulate immediately. 

Erdogan confirmed that a Khashoggi-lookalike had been employed to leave Turkey on a plane on the night of murder, as part of Saudi effort to deny that Khashoggi disappeared in the consulate. 

He said he spoke to Saudi king on the phone and agreed to create a joint working group that has begun investigation work into the case.

Evidence suggests Khashoggi was the victim of a “gruesome murder” and an atrocity that must not be covered up, said Erdogan.

He maintained that it was significant that the Saudis have admitted Khashoggi was murdered, stressing that those involved in the murder case must face justice.

He said Saudi Arabia must answer questions regarding the reason behind the presence of the 15-man Saudi team in Turkey, and on whose orders, as well as why the consulate was not open to investigators immediately, and who was the local collaborator who disposed of Khashoggi’s body.

The president once again stressed that Turkish security services have evidence that the murder was premeditated, calling for participation from other countries in the investigation.

Erdogan further noted that while he does "not doubt the sincerity of King Salman", an independent investigation needs to be carried out until all aspects of the case is revealed. 

The Turkish president made no reference to audio or video recordings, as well as Saudi Crown Prince's complicity in the murder. The Guardian however maintained that "Erdogan’s speech carried a strong implication that the Turkish president does not think MbS is innocent in this case."

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