Turkish media close to the president published images Wednesday of what it described as a 15-member “assassination squad” allegedly sent to target Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and of a black van later travelling from the Saudi consulate, where he went missing, to the consul’s home.
The release of the photographs and video raises pressure on Saudi Arabia a week after Khashoggi disappeared during a visit to the consulate. Turkish officials fear that the team killed the writer, who was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi was last seen a week ago entering the consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage. His fiancée, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, was killed inside the mission.
The kingdom has called the allegations “baseless,” but has not provided any evidence that Khashoggi left the consulate and did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
News reports also said that the Saudis stayed at the Wyndham and Movenpick hotels in Istanbul, in the same neighbourhood as the Saudi consulate. Both hotels declined to comment on the report.
One of the men identified by name and photo in the Sabah report is a Saudi forensic expert, according to Saudi media reports, and is on the board of the Saudi Society of Forensic Medicine.
Turkish NTV broadcast videos of what it said were the men arriving at the airport and checking into one hotel, as well as videos of what it said was a large van arriving at the consul general’s residence two hours after Khashoggi had entered the consulate.