Saudis reportedly deny consulate garden well search

Saudi authorities denied permission to Turkish police to search a well in the garden of the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul as part of a probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, state media reported Wednesday.

Turkish police this month searched the consulate twice, and the residence of the Saudi consul general, to gather evidence into what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said was a “savage murder” of Khashoggi.

The Washington Post contributor and Riyadh critic was killed inside the Saudi consulate on October 2, which he had visited to obtain documents for his marriage to a Turkish woman.

Basing its report on the security sources, the Anadolu news agency reported that Turkish police “were denied authorisation by Saudi officials to search the well in the consulate garden”.

Turkey is conducting its own investigation into the killing but it remains unclear where the body of Khashoggi is.

Erdogan has not pointed the finger of blame at Riyadh but analysts say Ankara is using the drip-by-drip information leaked to Turkish media outlets as a tool of pressure against the Saudi leadership.

After 17 days of vehement denials, Saudi Arabia asserted Saturday that the journalist was killed in a “brawl and fist fight” inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul — without revealing the whereabouts of his body.

Turkish media have reported that the authorities here have audio tapes in which Khashoggi’s alleged killers tortured him by cutting his fingers off before his decapitation.

Turkish police were also hunting for the remains in an Istanbul forest.

On Tuesday, the police searched an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate in an underground car park in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul.

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