ISTANBUL — Turkey has “certain evidence” in relation to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that it has not released to the public, and it will do so once its investigation concludes, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.
Some of the evidence has been shared with Saudi authorities and other countries that wanted to examine it, the foreign minister said during a trip to Japan, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
“After this investigation is concluded and we are certain, then we will continue to share the evidence with the public,” Cavusoglu said. CIA Director Gina Haspel listened to audio purportedly capturing the interrogation and killing of Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post contributing columnist, during her visit to Turkey last month, according to people familiar with her meetings.
Cavusoglu said it is the responsibility of Saudi authorities to find out what has happened to Khashoggi’s body because the 15-member hit team that Turkey says was sent to Istanbul to kill him is back in Saudi Arabia.
“These 15 people who came to Turkey did not come on their own,” he said, dismissing the idea that they were rogue assassins acting independently. “They were given orders.”
Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey has not concluded that King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the killing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Salman twice on the phone and does not consider him “the type of person who would issue a death order,” Cavusoglu said.
In an opinion piece in The Post last week, Erdogan said that the order to kill Khashoggi “came from the highest levels of the Saudi government” but that he did not “believe for a second” that Salman had ordered the hit.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Khashoggi’s 35-year-old son, Salah, said the king had assured him that “everybody involved will be brought to justice” for the killing.
“I have faith in that. This will happen,” he said. Alongside his brother, Abdullah, 33, Salah made an appeal for the return of his father’s body.
“We just need to make sure that he rests in peace,” Salah said.
Turkey has said that a 15-man squad dispatched from Saudi Arabia killed Khashoggi shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to seek a document he needed for his upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiancee. They then dismembered his body and disposed of it as part of a premeditated plot, Turkish authorities said.
After initially insisting that Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he entered the building, Saudi Arabia last month admitted that he was killed inside. However, it has repeatedly denied that powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, was responsible for the killing, even though his close associates are among the suspects.
Turkey has repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia of not cooperating in the investigation and of destroying evidence.
On Monday, a Turkish official said that at least two members of a team that Saudi Arabia sent to investigate Khashoggi’s killing were actually there to cover it up.
Zeynep Karatas contributed to this report.