Saudi officials prevent search at well in Istanbul consulate

Ankara: Saudi officials have denied permission to the Turkish police to search a well in the garden of the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul as part of the ongoing probe into the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Turkish security forces examined the consulate building but Saudi officials did not give them permission to search the garden of the consulate and a well in it.

A joint Turkish-Saudi team searched the residence of the Consul General as well as the Saudi consulate last week as part of the investigation into the case.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a supporter-turned-critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared on October 2 after entering the consulate in Istanbul.

The kingdom first denied any involvement in the disappearance, but amid mounting international pressure acknowledged that he had been killed at the consulate in a rogue operation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday laid out his country’s initial findings in its investigation, saying Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated”.

World leaders have called on the Saudi government to provide more concrete answers on his death amid a global outcry.

On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish officials.

All the identified individuals have since left Turkey, the agency said.