Turkey Pros­e­cu­tor Seeks Ar­rest of Two Saudi Crown Prince Al­lies


ANKARA (Dis­patches) - A Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor has de­manded that ar­rest war­rants be is­sued against two Saudi na­tion­als close to Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man over the mur­der of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, a Turk­ish source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said Wed­nes­day.

Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after en­ter­ing the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul on Oc­to­ber 2 to ob­tain pa­per­work for his up­com­ing mar­riage.

The chief pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice in Is­tan­bul filed an ap­pli­ca­tion Tues­day to ob­tain the war­rants for Ah­mad al-As­siri and Saud al-Qah­tani, de­scribed in court doc­u­ments as be­ing “among the plan­ners” of the mur­der of the Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor Khashoggi.

As­siri of­ten sat in dur­ing Prince Mo­hammed’s closed­door meet­ings with vis­it­ing for­eign dig­ni­taries and Qah­tani was a key coun­sel­lor to the crown prince. Both were sacked after Riyadh ad­mit­ted Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi con­sulate.

Ac­cord­ing to Turkey, a 15-mem­ber Saudi team was sent to Is­tan­bul to kill Khashoggi.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has said the or­der to kill Khashoggi came from the high­est lev­els of the Saudi gov­ern­ment, but has in­sisted it was not King Sal­man.

Riyadh has since de­tained 21 peo­ple over the mur­der. De­spite spec­u­la­tion that the pow­er­ful crown prince or­dered the hit, the king­dom has strongly de­nied he was in­volved. But two key U.S. Repub­li­can sen­a­tors said a Tues­day brief­ing by the CIA’s di­rec­tor only strength­ened their con­vic­tion that Prince Mo­hammed di­rected the mur­der.

The Is­tan­bul pros­e­cu­tor in charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said in late Oc­to­ber that the Saudi former in­sider turned critic was stran­gled then his body was cut into pieces. The re­mains of Khashoggi’s body have not been found. There has been spec­u­la­tion in pro-gov­ern­ment me­dia that his body was dis­solved in acid.

A se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial Wed­nes­day said the pros­e­cu­tor’s move “re­flects the view that the Saudi au­thor­i­ties won’t take for­mal ac­tion against those in­di­vid­u­als”. The of­fi­cial, who did not wish to be named, pointed to the fact that the word­ing of the pros­e­cu­tor’s re­quest sug­gested that the cur­rent list wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily ex­haus­tive, ap­pear­ing to in­di­cate that more ar­rest war­rants could be sought.

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