Turkey is seeking the arrest of two allies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Prosecutor’s say there is ‘strong suspicion’ that royal court adviser chief Saud al-Qahtani and deputy head of intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri were among the planners of the October 2 murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The pair were removed from their positions in October while Saudi Arabia has detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five over the slaying, which sparked international outrage.
Turkey has been seeking to extradite 18 suspects, including 15 members of an alleged assassination squad accused of murdering and dismembering the writer.
Turkish prosecutors are seeking the arrest of two allies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi (pictured)
This morning, the office of Istanbul’s chief prosecutor demanded arrest warrants for Saudi officials Ahmed al-Asiri (pictured) and Saud al-Qahtani over the slaying
The prosecutor’s office has concluded there is ‘strong suspicion’ that Saud al-Qahtani (pictured) and General Ahmed al-Asiri, who were removed from their positions in October, were among the planners of the October 2 killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
An Istanbul official said today: ‘The prosecution’s move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and Qahtani reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won’t take formal action against those individuals.
‘The international community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia’ commitment to prosecute this heinous crime.
‘By extraditing all suspects to Turkey, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, the Saudi authorities could address those concerns.’
Khashoggi, 59, was killed after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the order for Khashoggi’s killing came from the highest level of the Saudi government but probably not King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on Salman’s heir and de facto ruler Prince Mohammed.
Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the order for Khashoggi’s killing came from the highest level of the Saudi government but probably not King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on Salman’s heir and de facto ruler Prince Mohammed (pictured)
A CCTV image shows Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz at an apartment building in Istanbul, Turkey, just hours before his death in the Saudi Arabian Consulate
After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh later said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
Today’s comments from Turkish prosecutors come a day after senior U.S. senators said they were more certain than ever that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi after receiving a CIA briefing on the matter.
Making some of their strongest accusations so far, both Republicans and Democrats said they still want to pass legislation to send a message to Saudi Arabia that the United States condemns the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist.
But President Donald Trump and some of his fellow Republicans have argued that Washington should not take action that would risk its relationship with Riyadh, which is viewed as an important counterweight to Iran in the Middle East.
Khashoggi had visited the consulate to obtain documents required to wed his Turkish fiancee.
His remains are still to be found, and Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Saudi officials reveal the identity of a local collaborator who may have disposed of the body.
U.S. intelligence assessments and experts say it is unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince’s knowledge.