Saudi prosecutor discusses Khashoggi case with Turkish intelligence

#Khashoggi

Saud al-Mujeb left his hotel shortly after midnight to visit Istanbul offices of National Intelligence Agency, Turkey's Demiroren news agency says

On Monday, Mujeb told Istanbul's chief public prosecutor his country did not know where Khashoggi's body lay (Reuters)
MEE and agencies's picture
Last update: 
Wednesday 31 October 2018 10:44 UTC
Topics: 

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has held talks overnight with Turkish intelligence officials over the investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Demiroren has reported.

The Turkish news agency said on Thursday that Saud al-Mujeb left his hotel shortly after midnight and went to the Istanbul regional offices of Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MIT).

It did not say how long he stayed there before returning to his hotel, the Reuters news agency reported.

Khashoggi's death has escalated into a major crisis for Saudi Arabia, which at first denied any knowledge of, or role in, his disappearance four weeks ago.

Last week, Mujeb contradicted previous Saudi statements, saying Khashoggi's killing was premeditated.

READ MORE ►

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi dissident prince flies home to tackle MBS succession

Riyadh says it has arrested 18 suspects, including a team sent to Istanbul hours before Khashoggi's death, but has rejected Turkey's call for their extradition.

On Tuesday, Mujeb met again with Istanbul's chief public prosecutor, Irfan Fidan.

The two had met the day before, when Mujeb told Fidan his country did not know where Khashoggi's body lay.

The whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains has become a sticking point in the Turkish investigation and between the two countries.

Riyadh insists Khashoggi’s body was handed to a "local collaborator" to dispose of.

Turkish sources have told Middle East Eye that the journalist was cut into 15 pieces, at least one of which was thought to have been brought back to Saudi Arabia by one of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's (MBS) bodyguards.

'A game to save somebody'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the Saudis were protecting the person responsible for Khashoggi's murder, adding that Turkey would not abandon its investigation.

"A game to save somebody lies beneath this," Erdogan told reporters following a speech in parliament. "We won't leave Khashoggi's murder behind."

So far, the kingdom has placed the blame for Khashoggi's murder on two of bin Salman's closest allies, deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and top aide Saoud al-Qahtani.

Many observers, however, believe the 33-year-old heir to the Saudi throne's hand to be behind the murder, despite his claims to the contrary.

He and others in the family have realised that MBS has become toxic

- a Saudi source close to Prince Ahmad

Last week, US President Donald Trump intimated for the first time that bin Salman could have been involved, stating that "the prince is running things over there".

Questioned about MBS's possible involvement in the murder, during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said: "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage.

"He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him."

On Wednesday, MEE revealed that Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, had returned to Saudi Arabia after a prolonged absence in London, to mount a challenge to bin Salman or find someone who can.

The septuagenarian prince, an open critic of the crown prince, has travelled with security guarantees given by US and UK officials.

"He and others in the family have realised that MBS has become toxic," a Saudi source close to Prince Ahmad told Middle East Eye.

"The prince wants to play a role to make these changes, which means either he himself will play a major role in any new arrangement or to help to choose an alternative to MBS."

The killing of Khashoggi, a critic of bin Salman, has put into sharp focus the West's close relationship with Saudi Arabia - a major arms buyer and lynchpin of Washington's regional plans to contain Iran.