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CIA gets hands on 'all Turkey's Khashoggi murder evidence'

Erdogan gestures while giving a speech [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 October, 2018

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CIA director Gina Haspel visited Ankara on Tuesday and was shown all evidence Turkey has collected on the murder of insider-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi.
Turkish intelligence has shared "all the evidence" including audio and CCTV tapes with the CIA over the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi, local media reported.

CIA director Gina Haspel visited Ankara on Tuesday to discuss the murder of the Washington Post contributor inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In addition to video images and audio tapes, Turkish intelligence also shared evidence gathered from the consulate and the consul general's residence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stopped short of pointing the blame at the Saudi leadership for the death of the insider-turned-critic.

But he said in a keynote speech on Tuesday that the murder was meticulously planned, demanding that all those involved be brought to justice. 

Khashoggi, 59, vanished on 2 October after entering the Saudi mission to obtain documents for his wedding.

Erdogan said on Tuesday that a 15-person team came from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi, including by carrying out reconnaissance in wooded areas outside Istanbul and deactivating security cameras at the consulate.

Turkish police searched the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, and the consul general's residence as well as hunting for evidence in an Istanbul forest.

On Tuesday, the police also searched an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate in an underground car park in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul.

The whereabouts of Khashoggi's corpse still remain unknown.

Haspel's trip appears to mark the first time a CIA director has flown to another country over a murdered journalist.

Observers say it's unlikely Haspel made the trip to Turkey only to be briefed on evidence, with some speculating it could be to persuade Ankara not to disclose material that implicates its ally Riyadh.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said the operation to kill Khashoggi in Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul was "one of the worst cover-ups" in history.

On Monday, six US and Western officials said they believed Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder. 

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