Saudi Arabia claims that Jamal Khashoggi died in a physical altercation inside its consulate in Istanbul.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to divulge details of Turkey's investigation into the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi for the first time on Tuesday, in a highly anticipated speech he had said would reveal the "naked truth" about Khashoggi's fate.
Since Khashoggi's death three weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey have offered sharply differing versions of what happened to him. The Saudi story has shifted sharply over time, from assertions he walked out of the consulate unharmed to finally acknowledging Khashoggi had been killed, allegedly in a fistfight that involved "rogue" Saudi agents.
But Turkish officials, from the start, have said Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated fashion by a team of Saudi agents who were dispatched to Istanbul from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and that his body was later dismembered. Over the past three weeks, Turkish officials have dribbled out details of their investigation to the news media that are intended to bolster their case as well as to force a confession – and possibly other concessions – from the Saudi leadership, analysts said.
Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post who had written columns critical of the Saudi leadership over the last year, had gone to the consulate on the afternoon of Oct. 2 to obtain documents that would allow him to remarry.
His death has cast a harsh light on the rule of the Saudi Arabia's young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has eased social restrictions at home while pursuing an unrelenting crackdown on rivals and critics, imprisoning hundreds. Mohammed has also tried to lure exiled dissidents like Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia, back to Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi's friends and other exiles said.
The case has also embarrassed the Trump administration, which regards the crown prince as one of its closest Arab allies and Saudi Arabia as a cornerstone of a U.S. strategy to counter Iran.
A stream of Turkish video leaks that surfaced on Monday appeared to depict the Saudis trying to cover their tracks after Khashoggi's death, including images said to be of men at the consulate burning documents and a body double wearing Khashoggi's clothes, to make it appear the journalist had walked out of the consulate as the Saudis claimed.
The leaks also seemed intended to whip up a sense of anticipation ahead of the speech by Erdogan, who has chided the Saudis in recent weeks for not cooperating with the Turkish investigation but stopped short of blaming the Saudi government for Khashoggi's death.
On Sunday, in a preview of his speech, Erdogan said he would explain the episode "in a very different way," the semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported.
"The incident will be revealed entirely," he said.
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