- Turkish prosecutors say that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul but have not recovered his remains.
- A Turkish official told The Washington Post on Wednesday that investigators were pursuing the idea that his remains were dissolved in acid.
- That would contradict a claim made anonymously by Saudi officials that Khashoggi’s body was rolled up in a fabric and given to a Turkish collaborator.
Turkish officials are reportedly pursuing a theory that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was dissolved in acid after his killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The Washington Post on Wednesday cited an unnamed senior Turkish official as saying the body could have been destroyed with chemicals either at the consulate or at the nearby consul general’s home.
Authorities found biological evidence in the consulate garden, The Post reported, that supported the theory Khashoggi’s killers got rid of the journalist’s body near where he was killed.
“Khashoggi’s body was not in need of burying,” the official said, according to The Post.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, on Wednesday for the first time publicly said that Khashoggi was strangled shortly after he entered the consulate and that his body was dismembered afterward.
The acid theory contradicts a claim by unnamed Saudi officials to Reuters and the Associated Press that Khashoggi’s body was wrapped up in some kind of fabric and given to a local Turkish collaborator.
Turkey’s prosecutor, along with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has demanded that the Saudis reveal the identity of the collaborator.
But so far the Saudis have not publicly mentioned or identified this person. The senior Turkish official told The Post on Wednesday that his country’s investigators did not believe that the person existed.
Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, visited Istanbul from Monday to Wednesday, ostensibly to share intelligence on the Khashoggi’s death and killers.
But Mojeb neither provided the location of Khashoggi’s body nor identified a local conspirator.
Turkish authorities may have been pursuing the acid theory for weeks. Two weeks ago Sky News cited an unnamed source close to the investigation as saying Khashoggi’s body may have been destroyed in a “very fast-acting chemical acid.”
Other news outlets, including The Guardian, also cited Turkish investigators or officials as saying Khashoggi’s dismembered remains were transported to the official residence of Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi.