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Iran Press TV

Turkey says to publicize results of probe into Khashoggi's assassination

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 19, 2018 07:37AM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Friday that his country will share "with the world" the results of its ongoing probe into the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi once it is over.

"We have certain information and evidence [regarding Khashoggi's disappearance]" and will publicize all materials to the world after the investigation is concluded, Cavusoglu told reporters.

He also dismissed media reports that Turkey has shared audio recordings from Khashoggi's disappearance with US officials, saying Turkey did not give anyone or any country the recording.

"It is out of question for Turkey to give any kind of audio tape to [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo or any other US official," he added.

Turkish daily Yeni Şafak on October 17 published quotes from audio tapes in which Khashoggi's alleged killers tortured him by cutting his fingers off before his decapitation.

ABC News, quoting a senior Turkish official, reported October 18 that during his visit to Turkey this week Pompeo heard this audio and was shown a transcript of the recording. But Pompeo denied the report.

Turkish police search forest, villa for Khashoggi remains

Turkey's investigation into Khashoggi's murder has led the police forces to comb a forest near Istanbul and a farm house in the seaside city of Yalova to find the dissident's remains.

According to a source inside the investigation, the movements of a suspicious black van belonging to the Saudi diplomatic mission led the Turkish police to the Belgrad forest and woodland in the Gazi neighborhood.

The van was one of the 14 vehicles that came and left the Saudi consulate on October 2, the day when Khashoggi disappeared after entering the building. The movements of the van were monitored by watching footage of more than 150 CCTV cameras across Istanbul.

The footage tracked by the investigators show the black van with green diplomatic plates headed north, past the Gazi woodland and Belgrad forest, and back into town, a source told the Middle East Eye.

The source said the police are now combing the areas, using crime scene investigation teams and sniffer dogs.

A rural location near the city of Yalova, a 90-kilometer drive south of Istanbul adjacent to Marmara Sea, is another geographic focus of the Turkish police's search. A "farm house or villa" in the seaside city may have been used for the disposal of remains, the report added.

Turkish investigators have for a second time searched the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi disappeared, and also searched the consul's residence.

While searching the consul-general's house, investigators combed a small grove nearby, without success, the source said.

However, a high-level Turkish official told the Associated Press on Tuesday that "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's murder was found in the consulate.

Turkey says that areas of the Saudi consulate's interior were repainted in between Khashoggi's disappearance and forensics specialists being allowed into the building 13 days later.

Hours before investigators were allowed into the consulate, cleaners were witnessed entering the building.

Bin Salman's close associate behind Khashoggi murder

A source familiar with the Turkish investigation has told CNN that Saudi intelligence officer and former diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb played a "pivotal role" in the apparent assassination of Khashoggi.

The source said that Mutreb was fully aware of "the plot" of the operation.

Mutreb, who was the first secretary at the Saudi embassy in London and has been described as a colonel in Saudi intelligence, is closely connected to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"He was seconded to an elite protection brigade within the Royal Guard to serve as the personal security force of [the crown prince]," a Saudi source told CNN.

Mutreb, one of the 15 assassins sent to Istanbul, appeared in photographs alongside bin Salman during the crown prince's tour of the United States earlier this year.

Bin Salman must go: Saudi clerics

A group of Saudi scholars opposed to the government's "westernization" program of reforms on Thursday called for bin Salman to be removed over the Khashoggi case.

In statements posted on Twitter, the Saudi Scholars Association blamed bin Salman for killing Khashoggi in a "gruesome" way which "goes against human ethics and standards".

The statement said Saudi Arabia faced "crises and problems" because of "injustice and unfair policies that MBS is responsible for," using an acronym for the crown prince.

It cited the arrests of "religious scholars, preachers and writers" and blamed bin Salman for "spreading social and administrative corruption with incompetence, and wasting public money on what is not useful".

"And finally, the injustice he has caused by killing the journalist Jamal Khashoggi," it added.

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