Turkish police have concluded that prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi mission in Istanbul after going missing Tuesday, an unnamed government official said Saturday.
“Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day,” the official told AFP.
The news came hours after police confirmed that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as the journalist.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, “did not come back out” of the building, police had told the state-run Anadolu news agency.
A former government adviser who has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen, Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the Saudi crown prince earlier denied that the journalist had been inside the consulate and said he was ready to allow Turkish authorities to search the building.
Reacting to the news of his alleged murder, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said she “did not believe he has been killed.”