Turkey checks CCTV for clues
Turkish investigators are examining CCTV footage showing the moment missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul and the movements of a team suspected of involvement in his disappearance.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished on October 2 after entering the consulate to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.
His fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, made an appeal to US President Donald Trump in an opinion piece for the Washington Post on Tuesday, calling on him to “help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance.”
Government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team specially sent to Istanbul and thought to consist of 15 Saudis.
CCTV released on Wednesday by Turkish TV showed a man believed to be Khashoggi enter the consulate as well as a vehicle of interest entering and leaving the building after Khashoggi went inside.
But Riyadh insisted the 59-year-old journalist had left the building and the murder claims were “baseless.”
Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in the United States since last year fearing arrest.
He has been critical of some policies of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.
Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on October 2 at different times carrying the individuals of interest in the case.
A source told the Washington Post that US intelligence “intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him.”
The same source said the Saudis hoped to “lure” Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia “and lay hands on him there.”
One of the first images from the CCTV footage shared by 24 TV broadcaster showed Khashoggi enter the consulate at 1:14 pm (10:14 GMT).
Footage also showed some of the Saudis arriving in Istanbul after the first plane landed before 00:30 GMT on October 2 and the men later checking into a hotel near the consulate. Aksam daily said some of the men went into the Saudi consulate before Khashoggi.
According to the images, a vehicle that went inside the consulate was then driven to the consul-general’s residence nearby after 12:00 GMT, two hours after Khashoggi had entered the mission.
Aksam newspaper’s editor-inchief Murat Kelkitlioglu speculated on 24 TV that it was “almost certain” that Khashoggi had been taken in the vehicle.