Turkish prosecutor summons 25 more people as potential witnesses in Khashoggi murder case

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Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice (L) and her friends wait in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, on October 3, 2018. OZAN KOSE / AFP

A Turkish prosecutor has summoned 25 more people as potential witnesses in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate General in İstanbul on Oct. 2, according to Turkish media reports on Sunday.

Twenty employees from the consulate have already testified in the case.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed that Khashoggi was killed during a “brawl” in the Saudi consulate without specifying where his body was.

Turkish authorities announced that they were close to finding the body and explaining the murder.

Numan Kurtulmuş, deputy chairman of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on Sunday said Turkey would not allow a cover-up of the murder, warning that the consequences could be “dire,” according to Reuters.

Khashoggi, 59, was a prominent Saudi journalist who contributed columns to The Washington Post critical of the Saudi administration led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

A weeks-long silence on the part of the kingdom led to an international crisis, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visiting both Riyadh and Ankara to hear their accounts.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump late on Saturday strongly criticized Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of Khashoggi, saying that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”

At the same time, Trump defended the oil-rich monarchy as an “incredible ally” and kept open the possibility that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order Saudi agents to kill Khashoggi.

“Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point . . . I would love if he wasn’t responsible,” Trump said in a phone interview with The Washington Post.

President Erdoğan said he will make a statement on Khashoggi’s murder on Tuesday during his party’s group parliamentary meeting.

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