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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Erdogan presses for Saudi suspects to reveal location of Khashoggi's body

Turkish president says Saudi chief prosecutor will visit on Sunday as part of investigation into journalist's killing

Guards stand behind barriers on the road leading to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 26, 2018. AP Photo
Guards stand behind barriers on the road leading to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 26, 2018. AP Photo

The Saudi officials who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Istanbul consulate must reveal the location of his body, Turkey's president said on Friday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saudi Arabia also must reveal the identity of the "local cooperator" whom Saudi officials earlier said had taken charge of Khashoggi's body after he was killed.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey had other "information and evidence" about the killing by Saudi officials after Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2, and it would eventually reveal that information.

"There is no point in being too hasty," he said during an address to Turkey's ruling party leaders.

The Turkish president said Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday as part of the investigation and will meet with Turkish counterparts.

On Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said Khashoggi's killing was premeditated, citing Turkish evidence, contrary to the kingdom's earlier statement that the writer was killed by mistake during a rogue operation by Saudi security officials.

CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey earlier this week to review evidence, and she briefed US President Donald Trump in Washington on Thursday. Khashoggi's body has not been located yet.

"It is clear that he has been killed but where is it? You have to show the body," Mr Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish president criticised initial Saudi statements that claimed Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed after going there for paperwork related to his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

"He will leave the consulate and not take his fiancee with him? Such childish statements do not go hand in hand with statesmanship," said Mr Erdogan, again urging Saudi Arabia to turn over 18 suspects that the kingdom said it had arrested and would punish for the crime.

"If you cannot get them to speak ... then hand them over to us and let us put them on trial," he said.

The statement from Saudi prosecutors that evidence showed Khashoggi's killing was premeditated contradicted an earlier Saudi assertion that rogue officials from the kingdom had killed Khashoggi by mistake in a brawl. That assertion, in turn, backtracked from an initial statement that Saudi authorities knew nothing about what happened to the journalist, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly a year before his death and had been writing for the Washington Post.

At a Saudi investor conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the killing was a "heinous crime that cannot be justified" and warned against any efforts to "manipulate" the crisis and drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which are regional rivals but also diplomatic and business partners.

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Read more:

Saudi Attorney General: Turkish evidence points to Khashoggi murder being premeditated

Saudi Crown Prince: no wedge between Riyadh and Turkey

Reticence of western firms in wake of Khashoggi killing drives Russia and Saudi Arabia closer

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