Turkey Questions Saudi Consulate Employees On Khashoggi
Turkish prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have questioned Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi went missing more than two weeks ago after entering the consulate to obtain documents in relation to a forthcoming marriage. Turkish officials believe he was killed in the building on October 2, but Riyadh has denied the allegations.
In an expanding quest for evidence on Friday, police searched a forest on Istanbul's outskirts and a city near the Sea of Marmara for Khashoggi's remains after tracking the routes of cars that left the Saudi consulate and the consul's residence on the day he vanished.
Investigators have recovered samples from searches of both buildings which it will analyse for traces of Khashoggi's DNA while the Turkish prosecutor's office had taken testimonies by 20 consulate employees.
At least 25 more people, including foreign nationals, are to be questioned as part of the investigation.
Turkey said on Friday it had not shared audio recordings purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder inside the consulate, dismissing reports it had passed them to the United States.
Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak has published what it said were details from the audio, including that his torturers severed Khashoggi's fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.
The disappearance of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, has strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Western allies.
But US President Donald Trump has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudis, citing Riyadh's role in countering Iranian influence in the region and tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals.
He said he believes Khashoggi is dead and the US response will likely be "very severe" but he wanted to get to the bottom of what happened.
Trump has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Riyadh should be given a few more days to complete its own probe.
The foreign ministers of Britain and Germany said on Friday that the allegations regarding Khashoggi would be totally unacceptable if true.
Arab allies have rallied to support Riyadh, with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash denouncing what he called "attempts to undermine Saudi stability".