Istanbul: Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s body has been found in a well at the Istanbul residence of the Saudi consul general, according to Turkish politician Dogu Perincek.
Perincek, the leader of the Patriotic Party in Turkey, told Sputnik, “Reliable sources from the Istanbul security service told me that the body of Khashoggi was found in a well, which is located in a garden in the residence of the Saudi consul general.”
The shocking revelation comes on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Khashoggi’s “ferocious murder” had been “planned”, rejecting the Saudi explanation of his death occurring due to a brawl within the consular premises.
He further stated that trying to hide “such a ferocious murder is against the conscience of humanity,” according to CNN.
The Turkish President also stated that he wants the 18 detained Saudi nationals to be tried in Turkey by “an impartial team”.
“It is very important for the inquiry to be carried out by an impartial team…so Turkey will pursue this matter to the very end. …This incident has occurred in Istanbul, so this team of 18 people should be tried in Istanbul,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Tuesday.
Erdogan offered his “sincere apologies” to the senior scribe’s family, fiancee and the people of Saudi Arabia before beginning his speech at the Turkish parliament. He also became the first official who went on record to give a comprehensive timeline of the incident as it unfolded.
The Turkish President stated that a team of three Saudis arrived in Istanbul on a chartered flight and settled into a hotel on October 1, a day before Khashoggi went missing from the Saudi consulate in Turkey. He also said that a team from the consulate carried out scouting missions in the Turkish forests of Belgrad and Yalova in the meanwhile.
12 more Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul on October 2 in two groups of three and nine on the day that Khashoggi was killed. The larger group reportedly contained Saudi generals, according to CNN.
Surveillance cameras had been disconnected in the Saudi consulate before The Washington Post’s columnist’s arrival, the President added.
He also confirmed that a body double for Khashoggi had been deployed by Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi’s doppelganger was seen at various locations after the scribe was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate, with CNN reporting that the body double was seen exiting the consulate’s back door after 90 minutes of Khashoggi’s arrival at the premises.
Erdogan further mentioned that out of the 18 Saudi nationals arrested, 15 were the very same Saudis who have been identified by Turkish authorities who arrived in Istanbul before the incident that left Khashoggi dead. The remaining three are consulate staff who have been detained in connection with Khashoggi’s “ferocious murder”.
He also mentioned that the usage of the Vienna Convention, which offers diplomatic immunity, was “a matter of debate” in Khashoggi’s case.
Meanwhile, the Turkish President has not confirmed if a recording of Khashoggi’s murder and alleged torture exists. Erdogan, during the course of his speech, did not mention the name of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and instead referred only to the Saudi king.
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers further went on record on state TV on Tuesday to outline that the kingdom had “indicated” its “keenness to hold accountable those who failed in their duties” in Khashoggi’s death.
Jamal Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2 to obtain papers which would allow him to get married to his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.