Turkish Police Find Two "Suspicious" Suitcases In Abandoned Saudi Consular Car; Chemical Mask Recovered

According to Turkish media outlet Hürriyet and CNN Turk, two suitcases full of clothes believed to belong to slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were found in the trunk of a Saudi consular car abandoned in an Istanbul parking lot. 

Also found were a computer and documents which were said to belong to Khashoggi as well, according to CNN Turk

Saudi consulate car similar to abandoned Mercedes

The car, a Mercedes with diplomatic plates, matched the description of another vehicle seen outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared on October 2. 

A Reuters witness said a Saudi team was accompanying the Turkish investigators as they carried out the search in a car park where the vehicle was found in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district on Monday.

On its website, CNN Turk said the investigators found a computer and documents in the car which were said to belong to Khashoggi. -Reuters

The abandoned car was discovered after a reader tipped off Hürriyet reporters. 

According to an employee who spoke to Hürriyet, the Mercedes with the diplomatic plate of 34 CC 1736 was driven into the parking lot by one of the attachés of the consulate, identified only as Muhammed O., on Oct. 7. -Hürriyet

"We know him as he has been using our parking lot sometimes. However, normally his Turkish driver uses this car. But on Oct. 7, the attaché was driving it himself," said the employee. 

Meanwhile, the same Saudi attaché returned to the parking lot on October 18 with a BMW bearing diplomatic license plate 34-CC-2665, parked it in front of the Mercedes and unloaded three suitcases - "two of them quite large," according to a lot employee who helped him load the bags into the Mercedes. 

"Khashoggi’s body is not inside the suitcases, is it?" the employee quoted himself as jokingly asking the attaché. "He laughed and answered no," he said, according to Hürriyet

Chemical mask

The lot employee also told Hürriyet that a chemical face mask had fallen on the ground while unloading the suitcases into the trunk. 

"The attaché took it and put it in a trash bin before leaving the parking lot with the BMW," said the employee. "I was very suspicious. I took the mask and showed it to a doctor. He told me that it was a mask that is used by those who work with heavy chemicals. I was so scared that I instantly put it away." 

The consulate’s Mercedes remained in the parking lot with the suspicious suitcases in its trunk, as well as an iPhone box and a kettle, which can be seen in its back seat.

Turkish police went to the parking lot on Oct. 22 but could not search the car due to its diplomatic immunity. 

After receiving a waiver from Saudi authorities, security forces returned to the site and conducted the search on Oct. 23.

According to the initial findings, two suitcases full of clothes were found in the trunk.

The clothes will be analyzed for DNA traces, a security source said. -Hürriyet

More suitcases?

An unconfirmed report from Gulf Institute terrorism expert Ali AlAhmed purports to show agents of the Saudi monarchy moving large bags outside the consulate on October 2, postulated to contain Khashoggi's dismembered body parts.