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Turkey calls for international investigation into Khashoggi murder

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says probe 'is a must' and that 'we will do whatever it takes to bring the murder to light'
Sri Lankans hold images of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi embassy in Colombo (AFP)

Turkey has called for an international investigation into the murder of veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country's consulate in Istanbul last month. 

"At the current stage we believe an international investigation is a must," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic and Washington Post columnist, was murdered on 2 October in an operation Saudi Arabia has since admitted was premeditated.

Saudi authorities have arrested 18 individuals in connection with the murder, including senior security officials who were members of a death squad that had flown to Istanbul prior to the killing.

Ankara had initially prioritised cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh last month dispatched its chief prosecutor to Istanbul for talks with Turkish authorities and to examine the consulate - the scene of the murder. 

Turkish officials however cast doubt on whether Saudi Arabia was willing to genuinely cooperate in its investigation. 

"In the beginning we said we formed a working group with Saudi Arabia and that we had no plans to take the [murder] into international court," Cavusoglu said in parliament. 

But he added that was not the case any more and the government now believed an international probe was essential.

"We will do whatever it takes to bring the murder to light. We have shown the evidence to all those who wanted to see," Cavusoglu added.

Turkey has previously said it would cooperate in an international investigation, and had called for the United Nations to launch a probe into what happened.

'Rogue' operation

According to a Turkish prosecutor, Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after stepping through the mission's doors.

After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted Khashoggi had been murdered at the compound but blamed it on a "rogue" operation.

How the Saudi narrative on Khashoggi evolved
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Ankara has already shared voice recordings linked to the murder with a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, the United States and its Western allies.

Turkey has also reiterated a call for Saudi Arabia to extradite the 18 suspects accused of taking part in the assassination. The brutal killing of Khashoggi has tarnished the image of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose possible role in the assassination has been under heavy scrutiny.

report published by the New York Times on Monday revealed that one of the members of the hit team, also a member of the crown prince's security detail, informed one of his superiors by phone to "tell your boss" that the operation was complete. The report implied that the boss in question was the crown prince himself.

Saudi Arabia has sacked two of bin Salman’s closest allies - deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and top aide Saud al-Qahtani - but insists the crown prince was not aware of the plot to kill Khashoggi and the subsequent cover-up.