Saudi and Turkish prosecutors discuss Khashoggi killing probe

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Top Saudi and Turkish prosecutors have discussed the investigation into the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The show of cooperation comes amid Turkish demands that Saudi Arabia should turn over 18 detained suspects for a murder trial over Mr Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, met with Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, for an hour and 15 minutes at Istanbul’s main courthouse, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The two countries have announced a joint investigation into the journalist’s killing in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, although Turkey has leaked evidence to the media in an apparent effort to pressure its regional rival over the crime committed by Saudi officials.

Turkey alleges a hit squad from Saudi Arabia travelled to Istanbul to kill the journalist, who had been critical of the Saudi leadership, before attempting to cover the killing up.

Under mounting international pressure, Saudi Arabia has changed its narrative about Mr Khashoggi’s killing several times, only recently acknowledging that Turkish evidence shows it was premeditated.

The Turkish president
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

Ankara’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, welcomed the cooperation between Turkish and Saudi investigators and said he hoped there would be no further delays.

“The investigation should be concluded as soon as possible,” Mr Cavusoglu said. “The whole world is curious. All the truth should be revealed.”

Turkey has been pushing Saudi Arabia to help locate Mr Khashoggi’s body, which has not been found.

Ankara is seeking the extradition of the Saudi suspects detained for the killing, which happened after Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2.

The Saudi flag flies over the consulate
Saudi Arabia has detained 18 suspects over the killing (AP)

Saudi officials characterised the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who overstepped their authority.

Yet some of those implicated in the killing are close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s heir-apparent, whose condemnation of the killing has failed to ease suspicions that he was involved.

Mr Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider and US resident who lived in self-imposed exile for almost a year before his death, had written critically of the crown prince in columns for The Washington Post.

Protesters hold up an image of the murdered journalist (AP)

Months later, Mr al-Mojeb played a key role when high-level Saudi princes, businessmen, government officials and military officers were detained and stripped of significant sums of their wealth in exchange for freedom.

The sweep, described by Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his backers as an anti-corruption drive, helped the new crown prince consolidate his power and weaken potential rivals.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will reveal more evidence about the killing but is not in any rush to do so. US defence secretary Jim Mattis has said the killing undermines regional stability and has urged Saudi Arabia to conduct a full and complete investigation.

In a new video, journalists from a number of media organisations read extracts from Mr Khashoggi’s last Washington Post column, entitled “What the Arab world needs most is free expression”.

“We will continue to campaign for truth and accountability for his horrific murder, by those who planned, ordered and executed it,” said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, which released the video.

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