Turkey said Tuesday it will search the consulate as it investigates why journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, vanished there October 2, an extraordinary probe of a diplomatic post amid Turkish officials' fears the writer had been killed inside the building.
The Sabah newspaper published images of the men apparently taken at passport control.
Stills of the airport show the men arrived from Riyadh to Istanbul in two private jets with the tail numbers HZ SK1 and HZ SK2, the Daily Sabah reported.
A map shows the van's route from the consulate to the nearby official residence of the Saudi consul general, where CCTV footage shows it arriving at 3:07 p.m. After a brief search, Turkish security officials, showing CCTV footage say, the two planes carrying the 15 Saudis departed Istanbul.
A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, US intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.
A screenshot of Khashoggi entering the consulate taken by a Turkish police camera, at 1:14 pm on October 2 is the last known image seen of the writer who was living in exile between Washington DC and Istanbul. It said they checked into two hotels in Istanbul on 2 Oct, the day Khashoggi went missing, and left later that day.
The report also said that the Saudis stayed at the Wyndham and Movenpick hotels in Istanbul, in the same neighbourhood as the Saudi consulate. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it's "imperative" that the Saudi government give clear answers about what happened to Khashoggi.
Khashoggi's fiancée asks Trump to 'shed light' on his fate
Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicized drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen. Khashoggi was driven from there to Riyadh, and is being held there, the source said.
Security guards stand outside the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. It's unclear when such a search would take place.
The release of the photographs and video raises pressure on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi disappeared October 2 during a visit to the consulate.
Saudi diplomats in the kindgom's embassy in Ankara phoned Turkish diplomats to let them know the investigation had been stopped because the 15 men were publicly accused without any evidence, including Khashoggi's body.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Lisbon that "we are 100 percent behind the American position".
United Nations experts have demanded a "prompt independent and worldwide investigation" into his disappearance.
A week after the disappearance of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, details about what happened to him at the Saudi consulate are beginning to emerge, along with indications that the USA had information of a Saudi plot against him.More news: Red Sox Hang On, Eliminate Yankees 4-3
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