An assassination squad of 15 men disembarked two charter planes in the Turkish city of Istanbul Tuesday on the orders of the Saudi royal court. After checking in to two hotels, the men laid in wait until Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate, where they killed him and then dismembered him with a bone saw. The assassins then left the country, flying to Cairo and Dubai.
That is the astonishing account of Khashoggi’s disappearance given by Turkish officials to The New York Times and The Washington Post Tuesday.
One official, who likened the incident to a scene from “Pulp Fiction,” said Turkish authorities have a video of Khashoggi’s murder.
That claim was backed up by Kemal Ozturk, a columnist in a pro-government newspaper, who told a pro-government TV network Tuesday: “There is a video of the moment of him being killed.”
Turkish authorities released pictures of 15 men they accuse of being part of a Saudi team
Turkish authorities came to the conclusion on Saturday that Khashoggi was murdered inside the embassy — four days after he disappeared — and informed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of their suspicions on the same day.
Erdogan has reportedly ordered government officials to brief media outlets on the killing, though none have spoken on the record and Erdogan has not publicly accused Riyadh of the assassination.
A critic of the Saudi regime who lived in fear of retribution from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Khashoggi went missing after entering the consulate on Oct. 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside for him to come out, but he never did.
A Turkish television station broadcast CCTV footage Tuesday showing Khashoggi entering the embassy. Shortly after, a black van was seen driving away from the consulate to the consul’s home a mile away. The vehicle was then parked in a garage.
Further camera footage broadcast Wednesday showed the 15 men entering Istanbul airport, checking into the hotel and leaving the country hours later.
The pro-Erdogan Sabah newspaper published images Wednesday alongside the names of the “assassination squad.” Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy, one of the men named, is head of forensic evidence at the Saudi General Security Department.