Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was planned 12 days in advance, say Turkish officials: Report

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Jamal Khashoggi‘s murder was planned 12 days in advance, according to Turkish investigators analysing phone calls and the movement of the suspects, Al Jazeera reported. The investigators went through 19 phone calls made by Maher Mutreb, thought to be the lead negotiator inside the consulate, to Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate’s building in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that the Saudi critic died in a premeditated murder inside its Istanbul consulate – after weeks of consistent denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

ALSO READ: Crimes against Journalists: Who was Jamal Khashoggi and what his killing means for press freedom

From these phone calls, four were made to Saud al-Qahtani, the right hand man of Saudi Crown PrinceMohammad Bin Salman , in which there is a third voice on the calls, according to the report.

Al-Qahtani was transferring the information that he got from Mutreb to that third person, according to the report. He was later removed as a royal court advisor following international uproar over the killing.

Turkish officials strongly believe that the third voice could belong to MBS. However, the technical analysis hasn’t concluded that yet since Turkey needs support to analyse it properly as Mutreb had made the calls via his Saudi mobile phone, the report stated.

It has also been revealed that along with Saudi consul-general, three other Saudi nationals employed in the consulate are considered as prime suspects in the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing.

ALSO READ: Khashoggi killing: Qatar FM says those behind murder ‘need to be held accountable’

Turkish officials say those employees fled Turkey within three days of the consul-general and left the country shortly after Khashoggi’s murder.

One of the employees, who is thought to be linked to the Saudi intelligence agency travelled to Riyadh 72 hours before Khashoggi’s arrival and returned to the consulate in Istanbul just before Khashoggi, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s two daughters have vowed to keep the legacy of their father alive in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.

For Noha Khashoggi and Razan Jamal Khashoggi, life growing up included visits to countless museums and historical sites, reflecting their parents’ love of knowledge.

ALSO READ: Jamal Khashoggi murder: Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy has always been that of survival of Al-Saud family, say experts

The sisters recalled staying up nights wondering what their father was doing on one of his many trips abroad, “trusting that no matter how long he was gone, we would see him again, wide-armed, waiting for a hug”.

“As bittersweet as it was, we knew from a young age that Dad’s work meant that his reach extended far beyond our family, that he was an important man whose words had an effect on people over a great distance,” they wrote.

They recounted the days after their father was first reported missing and how the family had visited his home in Virginia.

“The hardest part was seeing his empty chair. His absence was deafening. We could see him sitting there, glasses on his forehead, reading or typing away,” the piece read.

ALSO READ: Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi royal family members agitate against Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman following backlash over killing, says report

“This is no eulogy, for that would confer a state of closure. Rather, this is a promise that his light will never fade, that his legacy will be preserved within us,” they wrote.

Moreover, US President Donald Trump’s latest comments about the killing of Khashoggi show that he will “turn a blind eye” to the issue regardless of what investigators uncover, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Trump has vowed to retain Saudi Arabia as a “steadfast partner” despite saying that the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder the journalist.

Criticising Trump for prioritising commercial relations than justice, Cavusoglu said that human life should take precedence.

ALSO READ: Jamal Khashoggi: Reuters report on Saudi crown prince being prevented to ascend throne ‘outrageous’, says Saudi FM

“This statement that Trump made also means: ‘No matter what happens, I will turn a blind eye.’ This is not a correct approach. Not everything is money,” Cavusoglu told broadcaster CNN Turk on Friday.

The foreign minister also commented on recent moves by European partners in relation to the case.

On Monday, Germany said it would bar 18 Saudis from entering its territory and Europe’s Schengen passport-free zone over their alleged links to the murder.

In October, Germany called for EU countries to follow its lead and suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, prompting a dismissive response from France, the kingdom’s second-biggest customer after India.

ALSO READ:  “Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy,” say sons of killed Saudi dissident journalist Khashoggi

But Denmark on Thursday followed suit, freezing all sales of weapons and military equipment to Riyadh.

Cavusoglu said “artificial measures” would not help solve the crisis.

“They (Europe) say they don’t want to upset ties with Saudi Arabia. We do not want to upset our relations either,” he said, but added Ankara would do anything to shed light on the murder.

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