A high-level Turkish official said police have found “certain evidence” during their search of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul showing that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there.
The official did not provide details on the evidence that was recovered during the hours-long search at the diplomatic mission that ended early Tuesday.
The Turkish inspection team included a prosecutor, a deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police, and forensic experts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Police are planning a second search at the Saudi consul’s home nearby, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said. Leaked surveillance footage show diplomatic cars traveled to the consul’s home shortly after Khashoggi’s disappearance at the consulate.
Turkish officials said Saudi agents killed and dismembered the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation “baseless,” but US media reports suggest the Saudis may soon acknowledge Khashoggi was killed there, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.
Also Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US top diplomat Mike Pompeo that they are “strong and old allies,” during talks in the kingdom on the missing journalist.
Both men were seen smiling and exchanging pleasantries ahead of a closed-door meeting to discuss the case of Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and US resident.
“We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together — the past, the day of, tomorrow,” Prince Mohammed told Pompeo.
Pompeo also met with Saudi King Salman on Tuesday on Khashoggi’s disappearance.
After his visit to Riyadh, Pompeo will hold talks in Turkey on Wednesday, on the second leg of his trip, the Turkish foreign ministry said.
Pompeo will meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss bilateral and regional issues including Syria, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement, without referring to the disappearance of Khashoggi.
US President Donald Trump, who dispatched Pompeo to speak to the monarch over Khashoggi’s disappearance, said after talking with King Salman that the slaying could have been carried out by “rogue killers.” Trump provided no evidence, but that statement appeared to offer the US-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.
“The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump told reporters Monday. “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.