Dozens gathered in Istanbul on Friday for a rain-swept memorial at which officials called from the stage for justice and attendees prayed in a silence broken only by the whir of a bank of media cameras.
“They may have got rid of his body, but they have only spread his thoughts,” Yasin Aktay, a friend of Khashoggi and an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told the crowd. “Now everyone is asking why he was killed.”
Once a palace insider, Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, had become one of the kingdom’s most famous dissidents.
In Saudi Arabia, a stream of mourners came to offer condolences to Khashoggi’s family. Although a Saudi investigation concluded Thursday that the journalist’s body was cut up by a hit squad after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, no remains have been found. Turkish investigators have searched the diplomatic mission while police have combed nearby forests.
The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have each taken steps to punish those they say were responsible for the killing. But both distance Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a key ally of the United States — from its planning. The United States said Thursday that it would sanction 17 Saudis for their alleged involvement. Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor had released a statement hours earlier, saying that 11 Saudi citizens had been indicted, among them Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser and key enforcer for the crown prince. Saudi authorities are seeking the death penalty for five of those charged, none of whom have been named.
Mohammed has centralized the kingdom’s government and security forces since coming to power. According to Western diplomats and Turkish officials, it is unlikely that any mission to kill a high-profile dissident abroad could have taken place without the crown prince’s knowledge.
As rain swirled over the Istanbul ceremony Friday, Aktay told the crowd that Turkey would not cease its pressure on Saudi Arabia.
“Just because we have performed his funeral prayers does not mean we will stop asking for his body,” he said.