Mohammed bin Salman visits Turkey for the first time since journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote critically about the policies of the kingdom and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say a team of 15 tortured, murdered and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabia says he died in a “fist fight.”
Here are some key moments in the Washington Post columnist’s murder:
FOR HIS REFERRAL
Sep 2017: The Post publishes Khashoggi’s first column in its newspaper, in which the former royal court insider and longtime journalist writes about a self-imposed exile in the US over the rise of Prince Mohammed. His next columns criticize the prince and the direction of the kingdom.
September 28, 2018: More than a year after the Post published his first column, Khashoggi visits the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, looking for documents to marry. He is later told that he must return on October 2, says his fiancée Hatice Cengiz. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a plan or “road map” to assassinate Khashoggi was devised in Saudi Arabia during that time.
Sept 29: Khashoggi travels to London and speaks at a conference.
October 1: Khashoggi returns to Istanbul. At around 4:30 p.m., a three-man Saudi team on a scheduled flight arrives in Istanbul, checks in at their hotels and then visits the consulate, Erdogan said. The Turkish president says another group of consulate officials are traveling on a “reconnaissance trip” to a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul and to the nearby city of Yalova.
Jamal Khashoggi (right) arrives at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2
THE DAY OF HIS REFERRAL
3:28 a.m., October 2 A private jet arrives at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport with some members of what the Turkish media will refer to as a 15-member Saudi ‘murder plot’. Other members of the team arrive in the afternoon on two commercial flights. Erdogan says the team is made up of Saudi security and intelligence officials and a forensic expert. They meet at the Saudi consulate. One of the first things they do is disassemble a hard drive connected to the consulate’s camera system, the president says.
11.50 am: Khashoggi will be called later that day to confirm his appointment at the consulate, Erdogan said.
1.14 pm: Surveillance footage later leaked to Turkish media shows Khashoggi walking into the main entrance of the Saudi consulate. No publicly available footage shows him leaving. His fiancée waits outside, pacing for hours.
3:07 pm: Surveillance footage shows vehicles with diplomatic plates leaving the Saudi consulate for the consul general’s home, about 2 kilometers away.
5.50 pm: Khashoggi’s fiancé alerts authorities, saying he may have been forcibly held in the consulate or something bad may have happened to him, Erdogan said.
19:00: A private plane from Saudi Arabia transports six members of the alleged Saudi squad from Istanbul to Cairo and returns to Riyadh the next day.
11:00 p.m.: Seven members of the alleged Saudi squad depart on another private jet for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, returning to Riyadh the next day. Two others depart on commercial flights.
Erdogan confirms reports that a ‘body double’ – a man wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and beard – leaves the consulate building for Riyadh later that day with another person on a scheduled flight.
CCTV footage showed a private jet allegedly used by a group of Saudi men suspected of involvement in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
October 3: Khashoggi’s fiancé and the Post announce his disappearance. Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi visited the consulate and left shortly after. Turkish officials suggest Khashoggi may still be in the consulate. Prince Mohammed tells Bloomberg: ‘We have nothing to hide.’
4 October: Saudi Arabia told its state-run news agency that the consulate is “performing follow-up procedures and coordination with Turkish local authorities to bring to light the circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance after leaving the consulate.”
5th of October: In solidarity with Khashoggi, The Post runs a blank column in its newspaper, with the headline: ‘A missing voice.’
October 6: Quoting anonymous Turkish officials, The Post reports that Khashoggi may have been murdered inside the consulate in a “pre-planned assassination” by a Saudi team.
October 7: A friend of Khashoggi tells the AP that officials told him the writer was murdered at the consulate. The consulate rejects what it calls “baseless allegations.”
October 8: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey has been summoned for the disappearance and alleged murder of Khashoggi.
October 9: Turkey says it will search the Saudi consulate if a photo of Khashoggi walking into diplomatic mail surfaces.
October 10: Surveillance footage of Khashoggi and the alleged Saudi team who killed him has been leaked. Khashoggi’s fiancé asks President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for help.
11 October: Turkish media describes the Saudi team as royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert. Trump calls Khashoggi’s disappearance a “bad situation” and promises to get to the bottom of it.
12 October: Trump again vows to find out what happened to Khashoggi.
October 13: A pro-government newspaper reports that Turkish officials have an audio recording of Khashoggi’s alleged murder on his Apple Watch, but details in the report are questioned.
14 October: Trump says “we’ll get to the bottom of it, and severe penalties will follow” if Saudi Arabia is involved. The kingdom is responding with a blistering attack on those who threaten it, as the manager of a Saudi-owned satellite news channel suggests the country could retaliate through its oil exports. At one point, the Saudi stock market collapses as much as 7 percent.
Khashoggi (pictured), missing after entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul
October 15: A Turkish forensic team enters and searches the Saudi consulate, an extraordinary development as such diplomatic posts are considered sovereign ground. Trump suggests after a phone call with Saudi King Salman that ‘rogue killers’ could be responsible for the alleged murder of Khashoggi. Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the Middle East on the matter. Meanwhile, business leaders say they will not attend an economic summit in the kingdom that is the brainchild of Prince Mohammed.
October 16: A senior Turkish official tells the AP that “certain evidence” has been found in the Saudi consulate showing that Khashoggi was murdered there. Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman and Prince Mohammed. Meanwhile, Trump likens the case to the appointment of now Supreme Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his hearing, saying, “Here we go again with you guilty until proven innocent.”
October 17: Pompeo meets with the Turkish president and foreign minister in the Turkish capital Ankara. Turkish police are searching the official residence of the consul general of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul and are conducting a second search of the consulate.
October 18th: A leaked security photo shows a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage entering the consulate just before Khashoggi disappeared there.
October 20: Saudi Arabia admits for the first time that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and claims he was killed in a ‘fist fight’. The claim immediately sparks skepticism from the kingdom’s western allies, particularly in the US Congress.
22 October: According to a report, a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage called the royal family’s office four times around the time Khashoggi was assassinated. Police search a Saudi consulate vehicle parked in an underground garage in Istanbul.
CCTV emerges and shows a Saudi intelligence officer dressed in a fake beard and Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and glasses the day he went missing.
October 23: Erdogan says Saudi officials killed Khashoggi after plotting his death for days, demanding that Saudi Arabia reveal the identities of everyone involved.
October 25: To change their story again, Saudi prosecutors say Khashoggi’s murder was a premeditated crime.
November 2nd: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims the order to assassinate Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. Earlier that same day, Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, said he believed the body must have been dissolved in acid.
the 4th of November: Khashoggi’s sons Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi have issued an appeal for his remains to be returned so he can be buried in Saudi Arabia.
November 10: President Erdogan says Turkey gave the audio recordings related to the assassination to “Saudi Arabia, to Washington, to the Germans, to the French, to the British.”
Nov 13: Turkish media report that the luggage carried by the Saudi ‘hit squadron’ contained scissors, defibrillators and syringes that may have been used against Khashoggi.
Nov 15: Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor announces that he is seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with the murder. Shalaan al-Shalaan said the person who ordered the murder was the head of the negotiating team sent to repatriate him, and released Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. On the same day, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials, including the Consul General in Turkey, Mohammed Alotaibi.
Nov 16: A CIA assessment reported in the Washington Post shows that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.
Nov 18: Germany bans 18 Saudi nationals potentially linked to the murder from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone. Berlin also announces that it has halted previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia due to the fallout.