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Kashoggi murder in Istanbul consulate fuels political crisis



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Here is a timeline of events since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2.

The Washington Post contributor is recorded on camera entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

His fiancee Hatice Cengiz waits until the consulate closes, but he does not emerge. She says he went there to collect a document for their upcoming marriage.

The following day, the Post reports that the veteran journalist is missing.

On October 4, Saudi Arabia says it is investigating, while US officials say they are looking into the case.

In an interview published on October 5, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman maintains Khashoggi entered the consulate but came out shortly afterwards.

The next day, a source close to the Turkish government says police believe the journalist was murdered inside the consulate “by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day”.

Riyadh calls the claim “baseless”.

On October 7, The Washington Post cites a US official saying Khashoggi’s body “was likely dismembered, removed in boxes and flown out of the country”.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak reports on October 17 that Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside the consulate, saying it had heard audio recordings of the event.

The New York Times says a suspect in the disappearance, identified by Turkey, was in Prince Mohammed’s inner circle. Three other suspects are linked to his security team.

US President Donald Trump says on October 18 he believes Khashoggi is dead and warns of “very severe” consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible.

Two days later, Riyadh finally admits Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate after talks deteriorated into a “brawl”.

The public prosecutor says 18 Saudi nationals have been detained.

Riyadh simultaneously announces the sacking of top intelligence official Ahmad al-Assiri and royal media adviser Saud al-Qahtani, both senior aides to the crown prince.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tells Fox News on October 21 that a “tremendous mistake” has been made and those responsible acted “outside the scope of their authority”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 23 says Khashoggi’s “savage” murder was pre-planned and carried out by a 15-person team that came from Riyadh.

Trump ridicules the kingdom’s response as “one of the worst” cover-ups in history.

“It was a total fiasco,” he later adds.

On October 24, the crown prince makes his first public comments on the affair, saying it is “very painful for all Saudis, it’s a repulsive incident”.

The following day, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says the murder was “premeditated” according to information supplied by Turkey.

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor on October 26 starts extradition proceedings against the 18 Saudi suspects, but Riyadh refuses to comply.

On October 31, the Turkish prosecutor says Khashoggi was “strangled” and then “dismembered”.

On November 2, a Turkish official tells Hurriyet newspaper that Khashoggi’s body “wasn’t just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it”.

Erdogan says the order for his murder came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government.

On November 10, Erdogan says Ankara has shared recordings linked to the murder with Riyadh, Washington and other capitals.

On November 15, in the first Saudi confirmation of how Khashoggi was killed, the public prosecutor’s office says the journalist was dismembered and parts of his body handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds.

Washington announces tough sanctions against 17 Saudis allegedly involved in the murder.

The Washington Post on November 16 quotes anonymous sources in the investigation saying the CIA has definitively concluded the crown prince was involved in the killing.

On November 19, in his first public remarks since the murder but without making direct reference to it, Saudi King Salman backs the crown prince — his son — and praises the judiciary.

The next day, Trump says in a statement released by the White House that the crown prince could have known of the journalist’s murder, but adds there would be no change in Saudi-US relations.

“The CIA looked at it,” Trump tells journalists at the White House. “They have nothing definitive.”

On November 21, Trump vows the US intends to remain Saudi Arabia’s “steadfast partner” and thanks Riyadh for helping to keep oil prices low.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says the next day that criticism of the crown prince is a “red line”.

On November 28, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is “no direct reporting” linking Prince Mohammed to Khashoggi’s murder.