A Turkish newspaper reported Oct. 18 that Turkish police will extend the search for missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to a forest in Istanbul and a farm house in the neighboring province of Yalova.
Citing unidentified security sources, daily Yeni Şafak stated that the police “will not limit its investigation to the Saudi consulate building and the consul’s residence in Istanbul.”
Khashoggi, a dissident living in self-imposed exile in the United States where he contributed to the Washington Post, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered in the consulate by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh — claims denied by the Saudi government.
Saudi Consul Mohammad al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 16 before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18. The consulate building was also searched twice.
According to daily Yeni Şafak, Turkish forensics experts found “evidence of murder” at the consulate.
“Police teams focused on the ground floor of the residence of al-Otaibi,” the report said, stressing that the investigation will be extended to other venues.
“The teams are expected to make excavations in [Istanbul’s] Belgrad Forest and a farm house in Yalova, if needed,” the newspaper added.
According to local media outlets based in the province, one of the vans carrying some members of the Saudi “hit squad” was filmed in Yalova’s Termal district on the day of the disappearance. The district is particularly popular among Arabs as a holiday destination with its lush nature and famous spas.
Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency on Oct. 18 that the case is being “thoroughly” investigated and “results are expected to come out soon.”
In his last column for the Washington Post, published Oct. 18, Khashoggi said: “Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.”
“The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power,” he added.