Turkey seeks arrest of 2 former aides to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi case

Istanbul's chief prosecutor is seeking arrest warrants against two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who were dismissed amid the fallout from the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Court application cites 'strong suspicion' aides were involved in planning the killing

Late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is among the group of journalists recognized by Time magazine as Person of the Year. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Press)

Turkey is seeking the arrest of two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who were dismissed amid the fallout from the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said a court approved arrest warrants for former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who are believed to have overseen the team that killed and dismembered Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October. Saudi authorities say the agents who killed Khashoggi exceeded their authority.

The Istanbul chief prosecutor's Tuesday court application says there is "strong suspicion" the two aides were involved in planning the killing.

Turkey has been seeking to extradite 18 suspects, including 15 members of the alleged assassination squad. Saudi Arabia has detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied any involvement in the killing. One U.S. senator recently said if the crown prince was put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in 'about 30 minutes.' (Amr Nabil/Associated Press)

Saudi authorities initially said Khashoggi, who had written articles critical of the crown prince's policies, had disappeared after safely leaving the consulate. It only acknowledged he was killed after Turkish press reports based on intelligence leaks revealed extensive details of the operation.

Khashoggi had visited the consulate on Oct. 2 to obtain documents required to wed his Turkish fiancee. His remains have yet to be found, and Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Saudi officials reveal the identity of a local collaborator who may have disposed of the body.

U.S. intelligence assessments and experts say it's unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.