Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered Saudi Consulate: Turkish prosecutor

A Turkish prosecutor confirms for the first time that Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after the journalist entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2.

Saudi chief prosecutor leaves Turkey after 3 days of discussions

A Turkish prosecutor confirmed Wednesday for the first time that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after he entered the Saudi Consulate, the door of which is seen here Monday being guarded by a member of security staff. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as the journalist entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of a premeditated killing, and he was dismembered before being disposed of, a top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday. 

A statement from chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan's office also said that discussions with Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb have yielded no "concrete results" despite "good-willed efforts" by Turkey to uncover the truth.

The statement is the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered after he entered the consulate on Oct. 2 to collect paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. It also points to a lack of co-operation from Saudi officials in the investigation of the slaying.

Khashoggi, shown in an undated photo, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork for his upcoming nuptials. (AFP/Getty Images)

"In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled and killed immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia," the prosecutor's office said.

"The victim Jamal Khashoggi's body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation again, in line with the advance plans," the two-page statement read.

The prosecutor's statement that Khashoggi was killed immediately conflicts with a report by pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak earlier this month, which cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi being tortured before being killed. The newspaper claimed that his fingers were cut off and that he was killed by being beheaded.

Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi. It is also pressing Saudi Arabia for information concerning Khashoggi's remains, which still haven't been found, as well as who ordered the journalist's slaying.

Saudis yet to comment on Turkish visit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also called on Riyadh to disclose the identity of an alleged local collaborator said to have been involved in disposing of Khashoggi's body. 

Saudi chief prosecutor al-Mojeb held talks with Fidan and other Turkish officials in Istanbul this week and departed Wednesday. Saudi Arabia has not commented directly on the prosecutor's visit.

Fidan's office said the Saudi delegation submitted a written response to questions and invited the Turkish delegation to come to Saudi Arabia bringing "evidence obtained during the course of the investigation."

Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, was in Turkey for three days for discussions with prosecutors, leaving without commenting publicly on the case. (Can Erok/DHA via AP)

The Saudi representatives said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains and whether the killing was premeditated or not would only come to light through a joint interrogation by Turkish and Saudi investigators, according to the statement.

The statement said Turkey renewed its request for the 18 suspects to be extradited. It did not say if Turkish officials would travel to Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, a lawmaker and spokesman for Turkey's ruling party again called on Saudi Arabia to reveal where Khashoggi's body is, who gave the orders for the killing and who the alleged Turkish collaborator is.

"Instead of trying to find out what [evidence] Turkey has, Saudi authorities should give the answers to these questions," Omer Celik told reporters. "This is not an incident that could have taken place without a high-level order."

Celik added: "We are not blaming anyone in advance, but we will not allow anything to be covered up."

Khashoggi, a 59-year-old columnist for the Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork for his upcoming marriage to his fiancée, who was waiting for him outside. A critic of the Saudi royal family, Khashoggi had been living in exile in the United States. 

Turkey alleges a Saudi hit squad from Saudi Arabia — including a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage during a trip to the United States — travelled to Istanbul to kill the journalist and then tried to cover it up.

Under mounting pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its narrative about Khashoggi's killing several times, eventually admitting that Khashoggi died inside the consulate and only recently acknowledging that Turkish evidence shows his killing was premeditated.