Turkish Media Floats Claim Saudis ‘Evaporated’ Khashoggi’s Body with Acid

ANKARA — Turkish police investigat­ing the case had said in a statement on Oct. 6 that 15 Saudis, including several officials, had arrived in Is­tanbul on two planes and entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside. The group included a leading forensic expert, as well as Saudi intel­ligence officers and Royal Guards, ac­cording to reports.

Turan K??lakç?, head of the Turk­ish-Arab Media Association and a friend of Khashoggi, had claimed af­ter the disappearance that the Sau­dis inside the consulate had already gotten rid of the journalist’s body after killing him.

Habertürk website’s columnist Sevilay Y?lman wrote on Oct. 15 that Turkish security forces started to look into K??lakç?’s claim.

“Police and the M?T [Turkey’s Na­tional Intelligence Agency] are now prob­ing this claim seriously. They are looking into whether the body of Khashoggi was dissolved using acid,” she said.

A media frenzy erupted on Mon­day over the arrival of three cleaning personnel arriving at the Saudi con­sulate just hours ahead of the Turkish inspection team. The reports did not indicate whether any other cleaning teams have worked at the consulate over the last two weeks, or whether this was a regularly scheduled visit.

If the most lurid accusations from Turkish officials are true, it would seem very odd that a 15-man Saudi hit squad did not clean up after itself very thoroughly after performing an ex­ecution that could severely damage the future of the Kingdom. One does not wait for the maid service to arrive two weeks later to sanitize a murder scene.

The Chicago Tribune took the appearance of the cleaning crew, which marched right past a horde of journalists carrying “mops, trash bags, and cartons of milk,” as sym­bolic of the low odds investigators will find any meaningful evidence within the consulate.

The Turkish inspectors arrived Monday in unmarked police cars and said nothing to reporters as they en­tered the Saudi consulate. Turkish of­ficials did not inform the media of the makeup of the Turkish team. Reports last week indicated the Turkish gov­ernment wanted to search the consul­ate using luminol, a chemical that highlights traces of blood on walls, floor, or furniture.

The problem facing the Saudis is the difficulty of imagining any fo­rensic evidence that would exonerate them. If investigators find nothing inside the consulate, it will merely be taken as evidence the killers or kid­nappers covered their tracks.

The Tribune also commented on the backlash brewing in Saudi Ara­bia and allied Gulf states over the Khashoggi allegations:

The Arabic-language daily Okaz wrote a headline on Monday in Eng­lish warning: “Don’t Test Our Pa­tience.” It showed a clenched fist made of a crowd of people in the coun­try’s green color.

The Saudi Gazette trumpeted: “Enough Is Enough,” while the Arab News said: “Saudi Arabia ‘will not be bullied’.”

The Arab News’ headline was above a front-page editorial by Dubai-based real-estate tycoon Khalaf al-Habtoor, calling on Gulf Arab nations to boycott international firms now backing out of a planned economic summit in Riyadh later this month.

“Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kick­ing the kingdom, we will be next in line,” al-Habtoor said.

A boycott of Uber is reportedly brewing in Bahrain because Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pulled out of the upcoming Saudi investment conference billed as “Davos in the Desert” to compare it favorably with the World Economic Forum.

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