UPDATE 2 — 10/31, 10:57 a.m. EDT: Turkey’s chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan said Wednesday Jamal Khashoggi was strangled to death and dismembered on Oct. 2 as part of a plan involving Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmanto to kill the Washington Post journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
UPDATE — 10/25, 10:29 a.m. EDT: Saudi Arabia issued a statement Thursday admitting the state’s attorney general has received information from Turkey indicating Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated”.
CIA Director Gina Haspel is currently in Istanbul investigating the case and will brief President Trump on her findings in the near-future.
On Friday, the Saudi government finally admitted the death of missing Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, claiming he died in a fistfight involving more than a dozen Saudi officials at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
The Saudis describe Khashoggi’s death as an accident, resulting from a discussion that went awry, and claim not to know the whereabouts of his remains.
“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made. Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain.” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stated in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
However, many officials have been doubtful of Saudi allegations regarding the details surrounding Khashoggi’s death.
For one, Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, which has led many to believe the government knew about his whereabouts all along.
Secondly, the Saudis have shown a lack of consistency and veracity in their accounts. For three weeks the Saudi government vacillated between various stories, only recently coming clean about Khashoggi’s death.
President Trump spoke about the incident in an interview with the Washington Post, stating:
“Obviously, there’s been deception and there’s been lies. Their stories are all over the place.”
As more information is divulged, the Saudi connection to Khashoggi’s death grows even stronger.
Most recently it was revealed a body double was used, most likely in an attempt to corroborate the Saudi account that Khashoggi exited the consulate alive. However, the ruse was easily discerned, as the double had on different shoes than the Saudi journalist.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Turkey has shown consistency in their account, maintaining a consistent story that Khashoggi was seized, tortured and dismembered. While the Turkish government possesses details surrounding the journalist’s death, it has delayed in disclosing more information, most likely out of fear of alienating Saudi Arabia, which Ankara has a tenuous relationship with.
However, on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan broke his silence, vowing to disclose the full details regarding Khashoggi’s murder. Following up Tuesday in an address to his country’s parliament, Erdogen described the incident as a “political killing“.
“All evidence gathered shows that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a savage murder. To cover up such savagery would hurt the human conscience,” he said.
The details surrounding Khashoggi’s murder carry with it serious ramifications. Already, American businesses have dropped out of the annual investor conference in Riyadh, and there are talks of potential sanctions being imposed.
If the Saudi Crown is found to be involved, an ever increasing outcome as evidence continues to mount, there could be even greater consequences for the West’s greatest Arab ally.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
[Reuters] [CNN] [New York Times] [The Guardian] [AP] [Photo courtesy CNN via TMZ]