Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has criticized the kingdom’s policies and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say a 15-man team tortured, killed and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabia says he died in a “fist fight.”
Here are some key moments from the assassination of the Washington Post columnist:
BEFORE HIS DISAPPEARANCE
September 2017: The Post publishes Khashoggi’s first column in its newspaper, in which the former royal court insider and long-time journalist writes about his voluntary exile in the United States following the rise of Prince Mohammed. Its following columns criticize the prince and the leadership of the kingdom.
September 28, 2018: More than a year after the Post published its first column, Khashoggi goes to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, looking for documents in order to get married. He was later told to return on October 2, his fiancee Hatice Cengiz said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a plan or a “road map” to kill Khashoggi had been drawn up in Saudi Arabia during this period.
September 29: Khashoggi travels to London and speaks at a conference.
October 1st: Khashoggi returns to Istanbul. At around 4:30 p.m., a Saudi team of three arrived in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, checked in at their hotels and then went to the consulate, according to Erdogan. The Turkish president said another group of consulate officials were heading to a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and the nearby town of Yalova on a “reconnaissance” trip.
Jamal Khashoggi (right) arriving at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2
THE DAY OF HIS DISAPPEARANCE
3:28 am, October 2: A private jet arrives at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, carrying members of what Turkish media will call a 15-member Saudi “assassination squad”. Other team members arrive on two commercial flights in the afternoon. Erdogan says the team includes Saudi security and intelligence officials and a forensic expert. They meet at the Saudi consulate. One of the first things they do is take apart a hard drive connected to the consulate’s camera system, the president says.
11:50 am: Khashoggi is called to confirm his consulate appointment later today, Erdogan said.
13h14: Surveillance footage later leaked to Turkish media shows Khashoggi entering the main entrance to the Saudi consulate. No footage made public shows him leaving. His fiancée waits outside, pacing for hours.
15 h 07: Surveillance footage shows vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving the Saudi consulate to drive to the consul general’s home about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
17h50: Khashoggi’s fiancee is alerting authorities, saying he may have been forcibly detained inside the consulate or something serious may have happened to him, Erdogan said.
19h: A private plane from Saudi Arabia is carrying six members of the alleged Saudi squad from Istanbul to Cairo the next day to return to Riyadh.
11 o’clock in the evening: Seven members of the alleged Saudi squad set off aboard another private jet to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which returned to Riyadh the next day. Two others depart on commercial flights.
Erdogan confirms reports that a “double body” – a man wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and beard – leaves the Riyadh consulate building with another person on a scheduled flight later in the day.
CCTV footage showed private jet allegedly used by a group of Saudi men suspected of being involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
October 3: Khashoggi’s fiancée and the Post make his disappearance public. Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi visited the consulate and left shortly after. Turkish officials suggest Khashoggi may still be at the consulate. Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg, “We have nothing to hide.
October 4: Saudi Arabia told its official news agency that the consulate is carrying out “follow-up and coordination procedures with local Turkish authorities to find out the circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance after he left the consulate building “.
October 5: The Post prints a blank column in its newspaper in solidarity with Khashoggi, titled: “A Missing Voice”.
October 6: The Post, citing unnamed Turkish officials, reports that Khashoggi may have been killed at the consulate in a “preplanned murder” by a Saudi team.
October 7: A friend of Khashoggi’s told the AP that officials told him the writer had been killed at the consulate. The consulate rejects what it calls “baseless allegations.”
October 8: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey is summoned for Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder.
October 9: Turkey said it would search the Saudi consulate like a photo of Khashoggi entering the surfaces of diplomatic posts.
October 10: Surveillance footage of Khashoggi and the alleged Saudi team that killed him has been leaked. Khashoggi’s fiancee asks for help from President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
October 11: Turkish media describe the Saudi squad as comprising royal guards, intelligence agents, soldiers and an autopsy expert. Trump calls Khashoggi’s disappearance a “bad situation” and promises to get to the bottom of it.
October 12: Trump again vows to find out what happened to Khashoggi.
October 13: A pro-government newspaper reports that Turkish officials have an audio recording of Khashoggi’s alleged murder from his Apple Watch, but the details of the report are in question.
October 14: Trump says “we’re going to get to the bottom of this, and there will be severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is involved. The kingdom responds with a meteoric attack on those who threaten it, as the director of a Saudi satellite news channel suggests the country could retaliate with its oil exports. The Saudi stock market plunges to 7% at one point.
Khashoggi (pictured), disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
October 15: A Turkish forensic team enters and searches the Saudi consulate, an extraordinary development as such diplomatic posts are considered sovereign soil. Trump suggests after an appeal with Saudi King Salman that “rogue killers” may be responsible for the alleged murder of Khashoggi. Trump has said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit the Middle East about the case. Meanwhile, business leaders say they will not attend an economic summit in the kingdom which is Prince Mohammed’s idea.
October 16: A senior Turkish official told the PA that “some evidence” was found at the Saudi consulate proving that Khashoggi was killed there. Pompeo arrives for meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and Prince Mohammed. Meanwhile, Trump likens the case to the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing, saying, “We’re guilty again until your innocence is proven.
October 17: Pompeo meets with the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Turkish police search the official residence of the Saudi Arabian Consul General in Istanbul and carry out a second sweep of the consulate.
October 18: A leaked surveillance photo shows that a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage entered the consulate just before Khashoggi disappeared there.
October 20: Saudi Arabia admits for the first time that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, saying he was killed in a “fist fight”. This claim arouses immediate skepticism from the kingdom’s Western allies, especially in the US Congress.
October 22: A report states that a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office as Khashoggi was killed. Police search a vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate parked in an underground garage in Istanbul.
CCTV appears showing a Saudi intelligence officer dressed in a fake beard and the clothes and glasses of Jamal Khashoggi on the day of his disappearance.
October 23: Erdogan says Saudi officials murdered Khashoggi after plotting his death for days, demanding that Saudi Arabia reveal the identities of everyone involved.
25 october: Changing their story again, Saudi prosecutors claim Khashoggi’s murder was a premeditated crime.
November 2: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. Earlier that same day, Yasin Aktay, a ruling party adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he believed the body must have been dissolved in acid.
November 4: Khashoggi’s sons, Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, are appealing for his remains to be returned so that he can be buried in Saudi Arabia.
November 10: President Erdogan said Turkey had given the audio recordings linked to the murder to “Saudi Arabia, Washington, the Germans, the French, the British”.
November 13: Turkish media report that baggage carried by the Saudi “hit squad” included scissors, defibrillators and syringes that could have been used against Khashoggi.
November 15: Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor announces he is calling for the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with the murder. Shalaan al-Shalaan said the person who ordered the murder was the head of the negotiating team sent to repatriate him and exonerated Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The same day, the US Treasury announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials, including the consul general in Turkey, Mohammed Alotaibi.
November 16: A CIA assessment reported in the Washington Post reveals that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.
November 18: Germany bans 18 Saudi nationals suspected of being linked to the murder from entering Europe’s Schengen zone without borders. Berlin also says it has suspended previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia amid the fallout.