ANKARA • The Turkish authorities believe Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country's consulate in Istanbul last week, Turkish sources said, in what they described as the deliberate targeting of a prominent critic of the Gulf kingdom's rulers.
Mr Khashoggi, 59, a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and adviser to its former head of intelligence, left the country last year, saying he feared retribution for his growing criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.
Last Tuesday, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Saudi officials said he left shortly afterwards, but his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.
"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate," one of two Turkish officials told Reuters last Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday the authorities were looking into all camera records and monitoring incoming and outgoing airport transits, but added that Turkey would await the results of the prosecutor's investigation.
A Saudi source at the consulate said in a statement that the accusations were baseless. The source said a security team that included Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul last Saturday to take part in the investigation.
Mr Khashoggi's fiancee said in a tweet that there had been no official confirmation of the Turkish sources' statements. "Jamal was not killed and I do not believe he was killed," Ms Hatice Cengiz tweeted.
A United States State Department official would not confirm the reports but said the US was seeking more information.