By Josh Babb
By Josh Babb
Rabat – Turkish officials have begun searching areas in the Belgrad forest and farmland near the Marmara sea, for evidence of Jamal Khashoggi’s suspected killing.
News of the search broke after two Turkish officials spoke anonymously to Reuters on Thursday.
“The officials told Reuters that Khashoggi’s body may have been dumped in Belgrad Forest, adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, about 90km south of Istanbul.”
Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi critic and journalist. It is suspected that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered after he was killed in the Saudi consulate on October 2.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish police searched both the residence of the Saudi consul-general and the consulate itself, looking for clues about Khashoggi’s fate. Sources with inside knowledge of the probe told Al Jazeera that they have located the exact location within the consulate where Khashoggi was killed.
Saudi Arabia, for its part, has continued to claim reports of their involvement are “completely false and baseless.” However, the claim is undercut by the fact that King Salman himself has begun to take control of the nation’s response as international outcry grows.
Last week the King sent his closest advisor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, to meet Turkish President Erdogan. As a result, Saudi Arabia and Turkey announced they would collaborate on a joint investigation.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with both Turkish and Saudi Arabian officials this week, briefed President Trump on the situation early on Thursday. Speaking to the press later in that day, Trump acknowledged for the first time that Khashoggi had likely been killed.
“It certainly looks that way to me. It’s very sad,” Trump told reporters. He added, however, “It’s a little bit early” to come to any conclusions about who is responsible.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced yesterday that he would not be attending Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, an economic conference scheduled to take place October 23-25 in Riyadh.
More than a dozen diplomats and companies, including the New York Times and Goldman Sachs, have announced their boycott of the event, underscoring the potential economic threat to Saudi Arabia.