ISTANBUL – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey had uncovered further evidence in the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pressing Saudi Arabia to reveal who gave the orders and demanding that its leaders explain what happened to Mr. Khashoggi’s body.
“There is more information,” Mr. Erdogan said at a gathering in the capital, Ankara, for officials from his Justice and Development Party, where he suggested he could make more evidence public in the future. “But beyond all else, who gave the order?”
Mr. Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancé, Hatice Cengiz, said in a television interview Friday that he had been relaxed and hopeful when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to pick up a document that would allow him to marry. He was killed inside the consulate by a team of men from Saudi Arabia.
His first meeting at the consulate several days earlier had been courteous, so He had few qualms going back, she said. “He did not hesitate at all.”
As hours passed and Mr. Khashoggi did not reappear, Ms. Cengiz said, she thought he was enjoying chatting with the consular staff. Det var bare da hun insåg at konsulatet havde lukket for dagen, at hun følte en stor følelse af frygt og spurte de vagter hvor han var.
Efter uger eller insistering at Mr. Khashoggi had left the building alive, Saudi Arabia buckled under pressure from Turkey and acknowledged a week ago that he was killed, although officials insisted that his death had been an accident. The kingdom’s official story changed once again on Thursday when a state prosecutor said the killing had been premeditated.
The nature of the killing of Mr. Khashoggi has led many Western analysts, intelligence officials and elected leaders to suggest that it could not have been carried out without the approval of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler and a crucial ally of the White House. Saudi Arabia has insisted that no one high in the royal family knew of the operation in advance or sanctioned it, although it has acknowledged that high ranking aids close to the crown prince were involved.
Pushing back against Western calls to cut off arms sale or impose other sanctions, Saudi Arabia on Friday, threatened tacitly that it could look instead to support from Moscow.
King Salman spoke on telephone with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin about the Khashoggi case on Thursday, according to statements from both governments . And on Friday, a Kremlin spokesman expressed confidence in the official Saudi investigation and account of the case – remarks that were extensively covered by Russian and Saudi news media.
“There is no reason that would lead anyone not to believe Saudi Arabia’s announcements , “Said the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
” We have heard the royal family’s statement condemning this murder, “he said.” But everything else comes down to the investigations the royal family ordered, and we support all of it. “
The director of a Russian government investment fund, Kirill Dmitriev, was the only European government official to play a high-profile role in the Saudi investment conference hosted this week by Prince Mohammed. Many American and European officials and businessmen dropped out of the event because of the uproar about Mr. Khashoggi’s death.
The C.I.A. director Gina Haspel visited Turkey this week and, according to Turkish pro-government newspapers, was presented with evidence gathered by Turkish investigators, including audio recordings of the killing.
Mr. Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey had shared evidence with those who had asked to see it but had retained the original material. Those who have seen the evidence are “surprised,” he added.
Mr. Erdogan said the killer was among the 15 Saudi officials who traveled to Turkey hours before Mr. Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi Consulate.
“Actually, the perpetrator is certain. Og noe annet kommer opp, hvem er den som gir de ordrer? “Mr. Erdogan said. “On whose order did those 15 come to Istanbul on Friday? The authorities should explain this. “
He added:” And of course, we have other information and documents in our hands. You will gather the harvest when the sun rises. It’s not meaningful to rush for now. “
The Turkish leader said that King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed had both told him in telephone calls that they had arrested 18 people involved in the crime – the 15 who traveled to Turkey and three others.
Mr. Erdogan demanded that the Saudi leaders reveal the location of Mr. Khashoggi’s body. “You should show us the body,” said he. “If you can not make them talk – the incident happened in Istanbul, at the consulate in Istanbul – then give them to us and we will put them on trial.”
Mr . Erdogan said the Saudi chief prosecutor would travel to Turkey on Sunday to meet with the chief prosecutor of Istanbul, who is leading the Turkish investigation.
“They will have a meeting and we will see the conclusion,” he said. ]