ISTANBUL, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are giving statements as witnesses under an investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish broadcaster NTV said on Monday.
Twenty consulate workers, including the consul’s driver, gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident last week, NTV has reported previously. Prosecutors are seeking statements from a total of 45 employees, CNN Turk said.
Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2 when he entered the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. After weeks of denying knowledge of his fate, Saudi officials said the prominent journalist was killed in a “rogue operation”.
Comments from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday were some of the most direct yet from Riyadh, which has given multiple and conflicting accounts about Khashoggi’s killing on Oct. 2, first denying his death and later admitting it amid an international outcry.
Jubeir called Khashoggi’s killing a “huge and grave mistake,” but sought to shield its powerful crown prince from the widening crisis, saying Mohammed bin Salman had not been aware.
After two weeks denying any involvement in the 59-year-old’s disappearance, Saudi Arabia on Saturday said Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, died during a fight in the building. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.
“Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” Germany, Britain and France said in their joint statement.
In a speech on Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appeared to suggest he was getting ready to release some information about the Turkish investigation, and would do so at his weekly speech on Tuesday to members of his ruling AK Party.
Erdogan has remained largely silent on the case, although Turkey’s pro-government newspapers have released information about events at the consulate. Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate. (Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Daren Butler and David Dolan)