ANKARA (AA) – International media coverage of Turkish prosecutors’ statement that a Saudi journalist was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and that his body was later dismembered, was largely critical of Saudi officials, and especially their refusal to cooperate with the Turkish investigation.
The U.S. press highlighted Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Irfan Fidan's investigation of the Jamal Khashoggi killing, highlighting the question of where his body is.
The Washington Post — which Khashoggi wrote for — carried the headline, "Prosecutor says Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered, but fate of body still a mystery,” saying Fidan laid out the most detailed official description to date of how Khashoggi was killed.
"But the new information did not address the question that has bedeviled investigators and been the subject of furious speculation: What happened to Khashoggi’s remains?" it wrote.
The story said a senior Turkish official was working on the theory that Khashoggi's body was melted with acid somewhere around the consulate or the residence of the consul general.
The New York Times said the Khashoggi killing "has significantly raised tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey."
"Western intelligence analysts and Turkish officials have maintained that the operation could not have been carried out without the consent of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia," it wrote.
Bin Salman this week sent Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mujeb to Istanbul, but Fidan's statement said the talks were not fruitful.
The Wall Street Journal ran the headline, "Turkish Prosecutors Criticize Lack of Saudi Clarity on Fate of Journalist’s Body."
Its sub-headline said: "Talks in Istanbul fail to solve mystery of what happened to remains of Jamal Khashoggi after he was killed at consulate."
"The Saudi prosecutor, who invited Istanbul prosecutors to Riyadh to cooperate on the probe, also appeared to distance himself from comments that the killing had been premeditated," the Journal added.
Saudi authorities initially said the body was given to "a local operator" or “collaborator,” a claim later denied by al-Mujeb.
CNN said the Turkish prosecutor's statement is the "clearest yet from the Turkish authorities about" the fate of Khashoggi, whose remains have not yet been found.
U.S. network ABC reported that the Turkish prosecutor publicly confirmed for the first time that Khashoggi was strangled and his body was dismembered.
It said Turkish authorities have asked the Saudis where they disposed of Khashoggi's body but have gotten no response.
The Associated Press said Turkey was seeking the extradition of 18 suspects in the journalist’s killing who were detained in Saudi Arabia.
"It also is pressing Saudi Arabia for information about who ordered Khashoggi’s killing and the location of his remains," said the story.
Under the title “Khashoggi murder: Turkey gives official details of Saudi writer’s death,” the BBC reported that Turkish prosecutors said the murder was premeditated.
The Guardian underlined that “Riyadh previously said” Khashoggi died in a fight in a rogue extradition operation, and has maintained that his body, intact, was wrapped up in a rug and disposed of by an unidentified “local collaborator.”
Pointing to Turkish prosecutors’ statement that the “body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation,” the daily said the statement bolstered Turkish investigators’ line of thought that “Khashoggi’s remains could have been disposed of at the nearby consul general’s house, dissolved in acid or dumped in a well on the property.”
“The fresh revelations from Istanbul came on the heels of the Saudi chief prosecutor’s departure from the city after a two-day visit – underlining how little co-operation there has been so far in what is supposedly a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation,” The Guardian added.
The Independent website said the Turkish side of the investigation is not satisfied with the Saudi cooperation.
Turks keep asking for answers to some key questions, it said: “who ordered the 18-man operation to murder Mr Khashoggi, what happened to the victim's body.”
“Turks have received no satisfactory answers,” it added.
“Turkey releases grisly details of Khashoggi killing,” was the Financial Times’ headline for the latest statement from Turkish prosecutors.
No analyses were published concerning the case, and major TV channels did not cover the additional details of the case released by prosecutors.
Major news agencies and newspapers quoted the Istanbul chief prosecutor's statement without comment or analysis.
This treatment followed the approach laid out by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who on Oct. 18 stressed the need “to wait for the results of the investigation" of the killing.
Commenting on the new details of the case revealed on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova urged journalists "to avoid bogus stories."
Warning of “a large number of insinuations” about the case, she added: “Our country immediately, from the first days, said that in this case it is necessary to do only one thing — to conduct an impartial, comprehensive investigation of this tragedy."
Russia will weigh in on what happened once the investigation is completed, she said.
Die Welt daily reported that Turkish prosecutors have concluded Jamal Khashoggi was strangled to death — in a premeditated killing — soon after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
The daily decried how despite Riyadh's pledge to cooperate in the investigation, Saudi Attorney General al-Mujeb’s visit to Istanbul this week failed to yield fruit.
On Wednesday, Istanbul prosecutors reiterated Turkey's demand that Saudi authorities extradite 18 suspects in the Khashoggi killing.
German public broadcaster ARD reported that many questions about the killing remain unanswered, including what happened to his body.
“A real clarification can only be achieved by Saudi investigators. But this is only possible with the consent of the Saudi royal family,” the report said.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily pointed to claims that the killing is tied to the inner circle of the crown prince.
“There are suspicions that Saudi strong Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of the Washington Post columnist [Khashoggi],” it reported.
“Many of the alleged perpetrators had direct links to the 33-year-old heir to the throne, according to media reports. Although he denies any involvement, the incident has seriously damaged his international image.”
Die Zeit weekly raised the possibility of European sanctions on Saudi Arabia if Riyadh fails to clear up the case.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have recently said that they are planning a common European response. What this response would be remains unclear at the moment,” it said.
French daily Le Figaro covered the statements of prosecutor Fidan, saying in a headline: "Turkish prosecutor said Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and then dismembered."
The paper reported that Khashoggi had been critical of bin Salman in his writings and was killed once he entered the consulate.
French daily Le Monde said this was the first time a Turkish official had made a statement about the Khashoggi killing.
Le Monde said uncertainties about the case remain, such as who ordered the killing and where Khashoggi’s body is.
It added that Turkish officials have been seeking answers from Saudi authorities.
Le Point magazine said on its website, "Turkish prosecutor unveils sordid details of Khashoggi murder."
The newsweekly reported that prosecutors revealed fresh details about the killing hours after the departure of the Saudi attorney general.
Le Point also said no progress had been made on identifying who ordered the killing or the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body.
– The Netherlands
"Jamal Khashoggi was strangled right after he entered the Saudi Consulate," said Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
NOS said the statement by Turkish officials was the first such statement since the killing of the Saudi journalist.
De Volkskrant daily said in a headline that Khashoggi was quickly strangled.
It reported that the Istanbul chief public prosecutor called the murder premeditated.
NRC daily also said that Khashoggi was killed right after he arrived at the consulate.
Prominent Swiss daily Blick cited Anadolu Agency reporting on Wednesday's statement by the Istanbul prosecutor.
In the story, Blick said Khashoggi was strangled to death when he entered the consulate, and his body was dismembered — both premeditated acts, it said.
Turkey requested that Saudi Arabia extradite 18 suspects over the killing but Riyadh refused, said the daily.
– The Balkans
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the headline “Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate,” Oslobodjenje daily reported that the body of the slain journalist was taken to an unknown place.
Citing the Turkish prosecutor’s statement, the article stressed the lack of cooperation between Turkish and Saudi authorities on the case.
Serbian daily Kurir reported, “Turkish prosecutor shared terrible details about Khashoggi,” saying that the Saudi journalist was not interrogated but strangled to death as soon as he entered the consulate.
Croatian daily Jutarnji List wrote that Khashoggi’s body was still missing, citing the Turkish prosecutor’s statement.
Leading Hungarian daily Nepszava also cited the prosecutor’s statement under the headline “Saudi journalist strangled as soon as he stepped into the consulate.”
The article stressed the detailed statement of Istanbul's chief public prosecutor, stating that Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor paid a three-day visit to Turkey for the investigation.
It also reported that Turkish authorities asked Saudi authorities where Khashoggi’s body is and to identify a reported “local collaborator,” adding that Saudi authorities did not respond despite their promises to do so.
Austrian state television ORF also ran a headline saying, “Khashoggi strangled immediately at the consulate.”
Citing Anadolu Agency, the daily said the killing of the Saudi journalist was “planned beforehand.”
While the paper said Khashoggi’s body was dismembered, it added that the Turkish prosecutor’s statements on the killing contrasted with the initial statements by Saudi authorities.
Leading Austrian daily Der Standard used the headline, “Khashoggi was strangled, his body dismembered.”
The article said that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and the murder planned beforehand.
It added that despite Turkey’s efforts, Saudi authorities refused to cooperate in the investigation.
Bulgarian daily 24 Chasa wrote that Khashoggi was strangled to death immediately after entering the consulate.
The article said that although the killing sparked a deep international political crisis, the violence and killing in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia will continue, referring to Yemen's devastating civil war.
According to the news website News.bg, talks in Istanbul with the Saudi attorney general yielded no results.
El Mundo cited the Turkish prosecutor's office as saying a 15-man hit squad from Saudi Arabia killed Khashoggi with premeditation.
A statement by the office verified most of the leaked information from the beginning of the case, including that it took seven minutes to kill the journalist, said the paper.
The daily said the dismemberment of Khashoggi's body was confirmed by the statement, adding that consulate officials were not involved in the process.
The daily said the ball is in Saudi Arabia's court, citing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling the killing "savage" and "political."
El Pais cited the Turkish prosecutor's statement as saying that Khashoggi was killed right after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
El Pais stressed Turkish requests to Saudi prosecutors for the extradition of 18 suspects currently detained in Saudi Arabia, as well as requests for testimonies, Khashoggi’s body, and the identity of the “local collaborator” in Turkey. But in the end the Saudi side only responded that "they never claimed the existence of a local collaborator," said the paper.
The daily also cited Erdogan asking Riyadh to disclose who exactly ordered Khashoggi killed, calling Khashoggi a self-exiled journalist for his criticism of the Saudi king and crown prince.
– Saudi Arabia
The Arab press highlighted Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Fidan's investigation of the murder.
Commenting on Saudi Attorney General al-Mujeb’s visit to Turkey, Saudi daily Okaz ran the headline, “Attorney general concludes 72-hour visit by meeting with [Turkish] intelligence and inviting Turkish counterpart [to visit Saudi Arabia].”
Notably, the newspaper wrote of the “death” of Khashoggi instead of “killing” or “murder.”
“The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s office announced that the incident was previously planned, and this is what al-Mujeb announced seven days ago, that the [Saudi] Public Prosecutor’s Office received information from the Turkish side pointing out that the suspects carried out their acts with premeditation,” it wrote.
State-run newspapers including Al-Ahram, Al-Khbar, and Al-Gomhuria did not run any stories about the Turkish statement on Khashoggi’s murder.
But dailies Al-Shorouk and Al-Masry Al-Youm highlighted the Turkish prosecutor's statement on their front pages.
Al-Shorouk said in its headline “Turkish chief prosecutor: Khashoggi was strangled to death.”
“Khashoggi was killed according to a plan previously prepared and his body was dismembered and discarded,” the newspaper said, citing the Turkish statement.
Al-Masry Al-Youm cited Anadolu Agency coverage of the Turkish prosecutor saying: “We have been informed that the fate of the body can be revealed as the result of interrogations to be conducted jointly in Saudi Arabia, as well as to determine whether the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was planned or not."
It said the Saudi attorney general told the Turkish public prosecutor “there has been no statement from the Saudi side on the presence of a local collaborator in the incident.”
Al-Jazeera reported on its website that “officials from Turkish intelligence service let Saudi Attorney General al-Mujeb listen to sound recordings of the killing of Khashoggi.”
Iranian official and semiofficial news agencies — including IRNA, FHA, Mehr and Tasnim — reported the Turkish public prosecutor’s statement as breaking news.
State TV also highlighted the statement in news bulletins and breaking news tickers.
The Tasnim News Agency cited the Turkish public prosecutor saying: “The Saudi attorney general didn’t answer our questions. Khashoggi was strangled to death and his body dismembered.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later he had died there.
The international community refused to accept the Saudi claim that the incident was not a premeditated murder.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that all details of the case should be revealed, including who gave the instruction for the “premeditated murder.”
Khashoggi's body was disposed of after being dismembered, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said on Wednesday.
"Victim Jamal Khashoggi was strangled to death — with premeditation — soon after he entered the Istanbul Consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Oct. 2, 2018 for wedding procedures. His body was disposed of after being dismembered following his death by suffocation — again, in line with plans," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.