Turkish police search Yalova villa in Khashoggi probe

Geneva Stokes
November 28, 2018

The law enforcement agencies later widened the search and investigation to the adjacent villa, it added.

It remains to be seen whether the new information will help in Turkey's search for Khashoggi's remains, which could provide critical information about how he was killed.

The search at the villa in Samanli, a village in the Termal district in Yalova, comes after security forces noticed a phone conversation between the owner of the villa and a member of the Saudi hit team that murdered Khashoggi, a Turkish security force source told Middle East Eye on Monday.

Saudi prosecutors maintain that the 15-man team sent to Istanbul exceeded its authority when the lead negotiator in the team made a decision to kill Khashoggi for refusing orders to return. The agency says crime scene investigators and sniffer dogs are part of the search.

Saudi public prosecutor has demanded death penalty against five of the suspects implicated in the murder of Khashoggi.

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Turkish police have already searched the consulate and consul general's residence during the investigation they have been carrying out on the case.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week Washington would remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Prince Mohammed may have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi. "The communication has been considered to be about the disposal/hiding of Khashoggi's corpse", read a statement from the prosecutor's office on November 26.

He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out despite Riyadh's initial claim that he exited the mission less than an hour after completing his paperwork.

After initially denying any knowledge of the disappearance, Riyadh had gradually altered its version of events, eventually claiming the writer had been killed by rogue agents. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.

There is also no confirmation of who ordered the killing. Khashoggi was a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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