Turkish investigators believe they are "very close" to finding the remains of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While forensic teams continued to roam a forest outside Istanbul, officials suggested that the mutilated 59-year-old body could have been buried with the help of "Turkish collaborators" with links to the criminal underworld.
A Turkish official said: & # 39; Soon we will discover what happened to the body & # 39;
Images of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, of whom Saudi Arabia has now admitted he is dead, and of his girlfriend Hatice Cengiz, together, a few hours before his death, have emerged.
The development came as:
- The Saudi government finally admitted that Mr. Khashoggi had died at his consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but claimed that he had done so in a fist fight;
- Donald Trump provoked anger by describing the Saudi version of events as "credible";
- Images of the journalist and his fiancee were discovered a few hours before his death;
- The vans that left the consulate, and may have contained Mr. Khashoggi's body, tried to avoid being tracked;
- Turkish investigators said parts of the consulate, in addition to being painted, showed signs of being "chemically cleaned."
Fifteen days after the disappearance and apparent massacre of Mr. Khashoggi caused repulsion throughout the world, the Saudis were finally forced to admit that he had died at his consulate in Istanbul.
But they denied that his death was ordered by the ruling elite of the country, instead of claiming that he had been killed in a fight.
Saudi Arabia's deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, and Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, have been dismissed on the matter.
The vans that left the consulate in Istanbul (pictured), and may have contained Mr. Khashoggi's body, tried to avoid being tracked
Yesterday, despite the widespread cynicism about the account, President Trump described it as "credible." Republican Senator Rand Paul was among those who criticized the comment and said: "The supposed explanation of the Saudis is not even credible."
The British government did not comment yesterday, but Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt previously warned of "consequences" if Mr. Khashoggi was killed.
As the political implications of the issue continued throughout the world, on Turkish television emerged granular images of the journalist with his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, 36 years old. He showed the couple who arrived at his apartment in the Topkapi district of Istanbul at 5 am on October 2 and left soon after.
They were captured again at the camera at 2 pm and when they left on the six-mile trip to the consulate in the Levent area of the city.
Mr. Khashoggi had gone to the consulate to obtain a copy of his divorce certificate in order to marry Ms. Cengiz. Instead, he walked toward his death while his girlfriend waited outside.
Turkish investigators believe they are "very close" to finding the remains of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi (pictured)
According to reports believed to be based on information from the Turkish intelligence services, Mr. Khashoggi was tortured and mutilated by a squad of 15 soldiers, who then dismembered his body during a seven-minute bloodbath.
Turkish media reported yesterday that some of the consulate's rooms appeared to have been "chemically cleaned".
There were also reports that the vans leaving the building tried to evade the closed circuit television, but were traced to the forest in Belgrade, 30 kilometers north of Istanbul.
The forensic teams were also looking for an area in the remote city of Yalova, 58 miles east of Istanbul. A van, equipped with diplomatic plates, "disappeared" from the cameras for about seven minutes, and investigators suspect that Mr. Khashoggi's remains may have been turned over to a local criminal group for burial.
Last night, Numan Kurtulmus, a deputy head of justice for the AKP party in Turkey, said all details of the death would be released.
The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, is received by Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street on the first day of her three-day visit to the United Kingdom in March of this year