Turkey asks to search Saudi consulate while focusing on ‘two black vans’ in Khashoggi case
Turkey has asked for permission to search Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul as it focused on two black vans after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing last week following his entrance to the mission, according to local media reports.
Turkish newspaper Sabah reported Oct. 8 that “the biggest suspicion” in the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance last week was on “two of six vehicles that departed the consulate two hours after Khashoggi entered the building.”
Both black vans are owned by the consulate, one of them with tinted windows.
The six vehicles were divided into two groups after leaving the consulate on Oct. 2, one of them going to the left and the other to the right.
As they carried green license plates, which mean diplomatic immunity, they could not be searched by the Turkish police.
The black van with tinted windows went to the D-100 highway, the report said, adding that Turkish police were reviewing security camera footage to identify their drivers and passengers.
Turkish police are also focusing on 15 Saudi citizens who came to Turkey on two airplanes on the day of the incident, entered the consulate and left the same day after Khashoggi’s disappearance.
A Turkish official also said Saudi Arabia's envoy to Ankara had been summoned to the foreign ministry for a second time on Oct. 7. "It has been conveyed to him that we expect full coordination in the investigation process," the ministry said on Oct. 8, after Turkey filed an application to search the consulate.
The 59-year-old journalist went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials.
“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul,” a Turkish official told the AP on condition anonymity.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 7 he was “personally” following the case.
“The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. We have nothing to hide,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had said in a Bloomberg interview published on Oct. 5.