Istanbul : Turkish police and investigators on Monday searched a villa near Samanli on the outskirts of Istanbul in connection with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The villa was searched as one of the Saudi nationals allegedly involved in the murder had, investigators believe, contacted a compatriot residing near Samanli on how to dispose-off Khashoggi’s body parts.
“We believe this contact was about how to dispose of Jamal Khashoggi’s body parts following its dismemberment. Therefore, police teams together with the prosecutor’s office have carried out searches on November 26,” the prosecutor’s office said in a written statement.
The property is located in Samanli in the Yalova province, about 90 kilometres south of Istanbul city. Last month, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had mentioned Yalova as one of the areas where a group of Saudi nationals scouted before Khashoggi was murdered.
The police personnel and the investigators left the villa after a 10-hour search. It is still not clear if they would return to the property again on Tuesday or whether they got any leads during the raid. According to a local national and Turkish pro-government media, a Saudi national had owned the villa.
On Monday, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a German daily, Suddeutsche Zeitung, that the government did not believe that Khashoggi’s killers acted alone, indirectly pinpointing at Saudi Crown Prince’s Mohammed bin Salman’s alleged role in the murder, Anadolu News Agency reported.
The Turkish minister claimed that many held the Saudi crown prince responsible for the senior scribe’s murder while asserting that strong evidence was required before making such accusations.
On October 2, Khashoggi was reported missing after he stepped into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to collect paperwork that would allow him to get married to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who later said that he never appeared from the building.
After days of denial, Saudi Arabia later confirmed its role in Khashoggi’s killing after facing massive pressure from Turkey over their investigations on the issue. But their contradictory statements have led to international uproar led by Erdogan, who has demanded Riyadh to come clean and accept their role in the scribe’s death.
Khashoggi, who relocated to the US from Saudi Arabia last year, used to write articles for The Washington Post criticising the Saudi government.