Turkish police search villa as Khashoggi investigation continues

Louis Ashworth
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Turkish police searched the two-storey villa in northwestern Turkey using sniffer dogs and a fire engine (Source: Getty)

Turkish police are searching a villa in northwestern Turkey as part of a fresh push for evidence in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate last month.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that police used sniffer dogs as they inspected a two-story property in a village called Samanli near the town of Yalova, which is around 90km from Istanbul. They searched a well in the garden at the location, and used a fire engine at part of the search.

Authorities have not yet found the body of a Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of the Saudi regime. The journalist disappeared after entering the consulate in Istanbul in early October to acquire marriage papers.

After initially denying any knowledge of the disappearance, Riyadh had gradually altered its version of events, eventually claiming the writer had been killed by rogue agents.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded greater cooperation from Saudi authorities in the case, alleging the killing had been orchestrated by the “highest levels” of Saudi government.

The fallout from Khashoggi’s death has put substantial pressure on crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s ruler, who has mounted a widespread and expensive public relations campaign in the West to portray himself as a moderate reformer.

Several major business leaders and politicians pulled out of a major investment event in the Gulf Kingdom last month as details about Khashoggi’s death gradually came to light.

Anadolu did not disclose what motivated the decision to search the location, but the Washington Post recently revealed intelligence which showed one of the Saudi agents involved in Khashoggi’s murder had placed a phone call to the owner of the property, a Saudi national, a day before the killing took place.