Mystery has surrounded the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the royal family and regular columnist for the Washington Post who disappeared four days ago after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to update paperwork needed for a marriage licence.
A woman who identified herself as Hatice A., the Turkish fiancee of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, walks outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul on October 3, 2018. "We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate", one Turkish official told Reuters.
A senior Turkish police source told MEE that Khashoggi had been "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces".
Saudi Arabia's consul-general told Reuters earlier on Saturday that his country was helping search for Khashoggi, and dismissed talk of his possible abduction.
AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik later said that Turkey will uncover the details about prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and his whereabouts. He has not been heard from since.
While Turkish authorities said there was no evidence he left the Saudi consulate, Saudi authorities claimed that he exited the diplomatic mission the same day. "Ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we've bought everything with money", he said, adding that since Trump came to power, the the kingdom chose to purchase over 60 percent of its needed armament from the USA for the next 10 years. Turkish prosecutors are probing the link between their visit and Khashoggi's disappearance, he said.
Khashoggi's disappearance may further strain relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who are on opposite sides of the multination blockade of Qatar and other regional crises.
Khashoggi first visited the consulate on September 28 to obtain a document related to his upcoming wedding, according to his fiancee and friends. Turkey's support of political Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, also angers leaders in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which label the organization a "terrorist group" threatening their hereditarily ruled nations.
Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has brushed off comments from US President Donald Trump that Washington is "subsidising" the kingdom's military, Bloomberg reported Friday.
Khashoggi maintained ties with Saudi elites, including those in its intelligence apparatus, and launched a satellite news channel, Al-Arab, from Bahrain in 2015 with the backing of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. "Jamal was - or, as we hope, is - a committed, courageous journalist". Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post, which ran a blank column earlier this week to help publicize his disappearance.
Since Tuesday, Turkish and Saudi authorities have given conflicting accounts about his whereabouts. The consulate is Saudi sovereign territory.
He said the consulate was equipped with cameras but they did not record footage, so no images could be retrieved of Khashoggi entering or leaving the consulate, which is ringed by police barriers and has high security fences topped with barbed wire.