Saudi team arrived a day before Khashoggi's killing, consulate cameras removed, Erdogan says

Thomson Reuters

ANKARA, Oct 23 (Reuters) - A team of Saudi agents began arriving in Turkey the day before journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, and cameras at the consulate were removed, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

Erdogan, who also said the issue of diplomatic immunity would also be discussed in regards to the case, was speaking at a meeting of his AK Party in parliament. He had previously promised to detail Turkey's investigation of the case.

Erdogan said a Saudi team of 15 entered the consulate the day of the killing, and that three men from the team went on an exploration trip to Belgrad forest in Istanbul and Yalova, a 90-kilometer (55 mile) drive south of Istanbul.

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Erdogan said he was not satisfied with Saudi Arabia blaming some of its intelligence agents for the killing of Khashoggi, and called for suspects to be tried in Istanbul.

He said that he does not doubt the Saudi King Salman's sincerity, without elaborating. He also said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body were still unknown and he demanded Saudi Arabia to reveal the identity of a "local cooperator" who purportedly took the body.

The president said there were strong signs that the murder was planned and that he was killed in a "savage way".

Erdogan also said he told Saudi King Salman that the Saudi consul in Istanbul was incompetent and that he was relieved of his duty and returned to his country.

He added that the 18 people arrested in Saudi Arabia in relation to the killing matches Turkish intelligence on the matter.