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Turkish police find ‘abandoned Saudi consulate car’ in Istanbul

Updated October 23, 2018

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Jamal Khashoggi. — File Photo
Jamal Khashoggi. — File Photo

ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Monday found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate at an underground car park in Istanbul, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s mission.

The car, which had diplomatic number plates, was found in an underground car park in the Sultangazi district of the city, the state-run Anadolu news agency and TRT World channel said.

Registration documents showed that the vehicle belonged to the consulate, they added. Police have asked prosecutors and the Saudi consulate for permission to search the vehicle.

Police cordoned off access to the car park, where large numbers of media have gathered, a photographer said.

Turkey on Monday said that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was “savagely planned”, vowing nothing would remain secret in a case that has severely tarnished the image of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Upping the pressure on Riyadh, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to reveal the “naked truth” on Tuesday about the Khashoggi case. The Washington Post contributor, 59, was murdered almost three weeks ago after stepping inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

After more than two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia finally admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but the kingdom’s explanations are seen by friends and foes alike as contradictory and evasive.

The case has shone the spotlight on Crown Prince Mohammed. He has spearheaded a reform drive for the kingdom but now faces a stream of allegations — denied by Riyadh — that he ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

CNN International broadcast images it said showed a Saudi official playing the role of a body double for Khashoggi, wearing his clothes while leaving the consulate in an apparent bid to falsely show the journalist had left safely.

White House advisor Jared Kushner — the son-in-law of President Donald Trump — said he had urged Prince Mohammed to be “fully transparent” as “the world is watching.”

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2018

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