Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi met an horrifying fate when he entered the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, according to Turkish officials.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Khashoggi was dead within minutes — beheaded and dismembered with his fingers severed — based on descriptions of at least one recording the Turkish government claims to have in its possession.
> The government of Turkey let out these and other leaks about the recordings on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Ankara, in an escalation of pressure on both Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers about Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post.
So far, President Donald Trump is treading lightly around the issue, promising some type of consequence if the Saudi government is found to have ordered the journalist’s killing but opting to hold off on judgment until investigations are concluded.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials say they have growing circumstantial evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
> Turkish officials on Wednesday reiterated their conclusion that a team of 15 Saudi agents, some with ties to Crown Prince Mohammed, was waiting for Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate the moment he arrived, at about 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 2.
> After he was shown into the office of the Saudi consul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, the agents seized Mr. Khashoggi almost immediately and began to beat and torture him, eventually cutting off his fingers, the senior Turkish official said, describing the audio recordings.
The Times said when Al-Otaibi objected to the killing taking place in his office — saying, “Do this outside. You will put me in trouble.” — one of the Saudi agents threatened him:
> “If you want to live when you come back to Arabia, shut up,” one of the agents replied, according to [the Turkish official and a report in the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak].