When the disappearance of American resident Jamal Khashoggi became public, officials in Turkey came forward to present information they learned through their own investigation. Khashoggi, a journalist who was outspoken against the current Saudi royal ruling family, walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. It was the last time he was seen alive.
Now, Turkish officials say they have scans of passport photos of the very men who went into the consulate to kill and torture Khashoggi, according to NBC News. It has been reported that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and his fingers were broken in what appears to be an act of torture.
Turkey says that a team of killers arrived in Istanbul to kill Jamal Khashoggi. Scans of seven passports have been obtained by NBC News, people who allegedly belong to the group of 15 killers said to have murdered Khashoggi.
Turkey is still conducting its investigation into the disappearance and presumed murder of the journalist. On Wednesday, investigators searched the consul’s home. The consulate was previously searched for nine hours earlier this week.
Saudi Arabia is still expected to release its own explanation for the disappearance and presumed death of Khashoggi. Monday, it was widely reported that the government is going to release a statement that Khashoggi was killed during an “interrogation gone wrong,” events which happened without the knowledge of the Saudi royal family.
Donald Trump took to Twitter to tell the world on Tuesday that the King of Saudi Arabia denies any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
The seven passport photos shared by NBC News do not show faces or names of the men who are pictured, and most of the writing on the cards is not in English. The identities of these men have not yet been independently verified, so the media is not showing their faces to the world yet.
However, there is still compelling evidence that Turkey is doing much more than telling a story. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has produced no evidence or concrete information of any kind.
On Wednesday, the U.S. asked Turkey to provide evidence that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the BBC reports. Turkey has said they have video evidence that Khashoggi was killed. By some reports, the actual murder itself was captured in this footage.
Trump repeated the same theory about Khashoggi’s killing that was put out by the Saudi royal family, saying earlier this week that perhaps “rogue killers” were responsible for the murder.
Saudi Arabia buys more weapons from the U.S. than any other country, and supplies the U.S. with billions in oil annually. A great deal of money, oil, and weapons flow back and forth between Saudi Arabia and the U.S., and Trump has already stated that he does not wish to jeopardize an ongoing arms deal between the two nations.
According to reports, the video captured by Turkey contains the voice of the Saudi consul Mohammed al-Otaibi. On the day Khashoggi disappeared, several vehicles with Saudi diplomatic plates were filmed moving from the consulate to the consul’s residence. This happened less than two hours after Khashoggi walked into the building.
Khashoggi was already living virtually in exile, having been previously warned by Saudi officials to stop being so critical of the country’s crown prince. According to Saudi officials, Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived and came to no harm. There is no video evidence to support this, and Khashoggi has not been seen by anyone since he walked into the building.