Khashoggi's body was 'dissolved' after murder, says Erdogan adviser

Khashoggi's body was 'dissolved' after murder, says Erdogan adviser
3 min read
02 November, 2018
Turkish official Yasin Aktay says the body was 'dissolved' after he was murdered and dismembered.
Khashoggi had been critical of the Saudi-led intervention in neighbouring Yemen [Getty]
The body of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was "dissolved" after he was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a month ago, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"We now see that it wasn't just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it," Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Erdogan and official in Turkey's ruling party, told the Hurriyet newspaper on Friday.

"According to the latest information we have, the reason they cut up the body is it was easier to dissolve it," Aktay said.

The claim echoed what a Turkish official had told the Washington Post, suggesting that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

Saudi Arabia has faced a torrent of international condemnation over the killing of the royal insider-turned-critic.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, had voiced some mild criticism of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

He vanished after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

Recent reports speculate the journalist may have been assassinated for preparing a report about the planned use of chemical weapons by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Read also: Khashoggi hit squad 'celebrated, drank alcohol' after murdering him

Murder in the Saudi consulate: Inside Jamal Khashoggi's killing
Read more here: Murder in the Saudi consulate:
Inside Jamal Khashoggi's killing

Turkey's chief prosecutor on Wednesday confirmed for the first time that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate on October 2 as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.

"They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left. This is what is understood from the prosecutor's statement, said Aktay, who was close to the journalist.

"Killing an innocent person is one crime, the treatment and extent of what was done to the body is another crime and dishonour."

Read also: MbS: The new Saddam of Arabia?

The Turkish official quoted by the Washington Post said that "biological evidence" found in the consulate's garden indicated the body was likely disposed of near where Khashoggi was killed.

"Khashoggi's body was not in need of burying," the official told the US newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

Saudi authorities have denied Turkish police permission to search a well in the consulate's garden, but did allow them to take water samples for analysis, according to local media reports.

The murder has placed strain on the decades-old alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday it may take "a handful more weeks" before Washington has enough evidence to impose sanctions on the individuals responsible.

Many international observers have called for an independent investigation into the murder as the both the Saudi and Turkish probes have raised eyebrows over their transparency. This is especially so in the Saudi case, as the order for Khashoggi's killing is suspected to have come from Mohammed bin Salman himself, who has a strong hand over the intelligence services.

Hatice Cengiz has hit out at Trump's response to the murder, saying he must not let Riyadh cover up the killing.

"I am extremely disappointed by the stance of the leadership of many countries, particularly in the US," she told a memorial event in London.

She said she believed the Saudi regime knew where Khashoggi's body was, and called for the "evil criminals and their cowardly political masters" to be held to account.

Agencies contributed to this report