Published: Thu, November 29, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Turkish Authorities Search Villa as Part of Khashoggi Probe

Turkish Authorities Search Villa as Part of Khashoggi Probe

It's been almost two months since journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi's body has not been found, despite extensive police searches in the consulate, the consul-general's residence and a forest in Istanbul. 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.

There have been reports that Khashoggi's body was cut up and dissolved in acid, and that acid traces had been found in the consulate's drains.

Reports on Monday said that police forces, who arrived at the villas in the morning, conducted searches in the villas and surrounding properties, about 100km southeast of Istanbul.

The owner of the Yalova property purchased it around three years ago, said Reuters. The agency did not name the businessman but said he was outside of Turkey at the time of the killing and had not returned in the past two months.

Mr Khashoggi was a critic of the Crown Prince and there are claims the royal knew about the plan to kill the journalist.

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The Istanbul public prosecutor in charge of the investigation said on Monday that one of the Saudi suspects, Mansour Othman M. Abahussain, spoke to Fawzan on the phone a day before Khashoggi's killing.

The murder has badly tainted the kingdom's de facto ruler.

Its embattled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who's been accused of ordering the killing, is on a tour of regional countries before he heads to Argentina for the G20 Summit.

Saudi Arabia has warned that any criticism of the crown prince would amount to crossing a "red line".

U.S. President Donald Trump has disputed that the agency reached a conclusion on the murder, saying instead 'they have feelings certain ways'.

"This approach is wrong", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk. Saudi Arabia initially said Khashoggi walked out of the consulate before shifting its account of what happened amid Turkish intelligence leaks. Ankara insists the orders for the killing came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, but not King Salman. Riyadh is now seeking the death penalty for five members of the hit squad in a move that appeared to be aimed at appeasing global outrage over the killing and distancing the killers and their operation from the crown prince.

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