Photos have surfaced of a 15-member "assassination squad" allegedly sent after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.
A squad of 15 Saudi Arabian men reportedly flew to Turkey just in time for Khashoggi's visit to the consulate for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. State broadcaster TRT World, which aired the footage, says the jet was carrying nine men. No one has produced any such footage of Khashoggi leaving the consulate.
He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained previous year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign. No one has produced any such footage of Khashoggi leaving the consulate.
The findings, of which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed, may put additional pressure on the Saudi government which so far denied any involvement in the alleged killing or abduction of the journalist. It said they checked into two hotels in Istanbul on October 2, the day Khashoggi went missing, and left later that day.
"I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate", Cengiz wrote. They say Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was attempting to finalize his divorce, shortly after he arrived.
Police and investigators in Turkey typically release video and information through state-run or otherwise government-friendly media outlets, as opposed to holding briefings like those common in Western nations.
The journalist's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, wrote an op-ed on Tuesday expressing hope her man is still alive.
The kingdom is already under pressure amid growing worldwide concern for the writer.
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Murad Sezer / Reuters Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Over a week into Khashoggi's disappearance, his whereabouts are still unknown, with Turkish and Saudi authorities putting forward conflicting statements over the issue.
Turkey said Tuesday it will search the consulate as it investigates why journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, vanished there October 2, an extraordinary probe of a diplomatic post amid Turkish officials' fears the writer had been killed inside the building.
Security guards stand outside the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.
He had been in a self-imposed exile in the USA since past year, fearful of the prince's low tolerance for criticism.
Writer Jamal Khashoggi, who had written critically about Prince Mohammed and the kingdom, vanished October 2 while on a trip to the consulate to get paperwork so he could be married to Cengiz.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also said Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.
The search will take place as part of the official investigation, which was being conducted "in an intense manner", he said without giving any date.
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