ISTANBUL — Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was immediately strangled as he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of a premeditated killing, and his body was dismembered before being disposed of, a top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday.
A statement from chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan’s office also said that talks with Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb have yielded no “concrete results” despite concerted efforts by Turkey officials to unravel the truth.
The statement is the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered after he entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2 to collect paperwork required to marry his Turkish fiancee.
The announcement came as Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, ended a three-day visit to Istanbul during which he held talks with Fidan and other Turkish officials.
Turkey is applying diplomatic pressure for the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi reiterating that the horrendous act was perpetrated in Turkey and not in Saudi Arabia.
It is also demanding from Saudi Arabia for information concerning Khashoggi’s body, which still has not been seen, as well as who ordered the slaying.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also called on Riyadh to reveal the identity of an alleged local collaborator who was assigned the job of disposing Khashoggi’s body.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old columnist for The Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork to marry his fiancee, who was waiting for him outside in the car.
A critic of the Saudi royal family, Khashoggi had been living in exile in the United States.
Turkey alleges a Saudi hit squad from Saudi Arabia — including a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage during a trip to the United States— traveled to Istanbul to kill the journalist and then tried to cover it up.
Under mounting international pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its storyline about Khashoggi’s killing several times, finally accepting brutal fact that Khashoggi died inside the consulate and only recently acknowledging that Turkish evidence shows his killing was premeditated.
Saudi Arabia has not commented on the prosecutor’s visit.