Friday will mark one month since Jamal Khashoggi waltzed into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, planning to pick up paperwork that would allow him to legally marry his Turkish girlfriend, and was never heard from or seen again. And despite repeated demands from Turkish authorities that the Saudi government reveal the location of Khashoggi's remains, or at least identify the "local collaborator" who is said to have disposed of the body, the kingdom has repeatedly refused.
The Saudi prosecutor's inexplicable refusal to help with the recovery of Khashoggi's remains has apparently led the Turks to conclude that one of the particularly gruesome rumors about the circumstances of Khashoggi's demise just might have been true. That is, after he was strangled and dismembered inside the consulate, Khashoggi's remains were dissolved in a vat of acid, then dumped either in a well on the property of the consul general, or somewhere on the consulate grounds, according to Washington Post.
Initially, Turkish investigators focused their search for Khashoggi’s body on two wooded areas outside of Istanbul, partly inspired by surveillance footage that Turkish authorities said showed Saudi diplomatic vehicles apparently scouting Belgrad Forest the night before the journalist was killed.
Last week, investigators suspended the search, focusing instead on the consulate’s grounds and the consul general’s residence. The search focused in particular on a well on consular property, where The Turks believe the assailants may have disposed of Khashoggi’s dissolved remains. According to WaPo, biological evidence uncovered during the search of the consul's residence suggests that Khashoggi's remains were disposed of near where he was dismembered.
A senior Turkish official said in an interview that Turkish authorities are pursuing a theory that Khashoggi’s dismembered body was destroyed in acid on the grounds of the Saudi Consulate or at the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general. Biological evidence discovered in the consulate garden supports the theory that Khashoggi’s body was disposed of close to where he was killed and dismembered, the official said.
"Khashoggi’s body was not in need of burying," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation.
Turkish prosecutor Irfan Fidan issued a public statement on Wednesday detailing the killing in the most explicitly overt terms since the investigation began. The statement followed the departure of Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb, whom the Turks have accused of stymieing the probe. As US lawmakers' calls to suspend a US-Saudi civil nuclear agreement grow louder, any confirmation that Khashoggi's body was, in fact ,dissolved in acid could reignite the international outcry over the brutal extradition kingdom, and renew calls that members of the Saudi leadership, particularly Crown Prince Mohammad, be made to face consequences for what appears to have been an act of unmitigated brutality.