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Turkish police inspect villa in Yalova in Khashoggi investigation

Security source tells MEE that villa came under suspicion after phone call between the home owner and a member of the Saudi hit squad
Turkish security forces stand at the entrance of the villa in Samanli, a village in the northwestern Yalova province (Reuters)

Turkish police carried out inspections at a villa in the northwestern province of Yalova in relation to the investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the state-run Anadolu news agency and other media said on Monday.

The search at the villa in Samanli, a village in the Termal district in Yalova, came after security forces noticed a phone conversation between the owner of the villa and Mansour Othman M. Abahussain, a member of the Saudi hit team that murdered Khashoggi, a Turkish security force source told Middle East Eye on Monday.

The conversation between the two men reportedly took place on 1 October - one day before the murder -  and is thought to have been about the killing of Khashoggi and the plan to hide the MEE and Washington Post columnist's body parts after he was dismembered.

The security source said the villa is owned by a Saudi businessman. According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the businessman has been out of the country for at least two months and spoke to Abahussain from outisde the country.

MEE understands that dogs and drones were being used in the search, and the next-door villa was also probed. Anadolu has reported that the second villa is owned by a second Saudi citizen, and that a portrait of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was found in the first property.

Two firefighter trucks were also present on Monday and were reportedly draining a well on the main villa's property, according to Anadolu.

Turkish authorities have previously carried out inspections at the kingdom's consulate and the consul-general's residence in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the killing of the journalist, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

MEE reported last month that investigators had widened their search to Yalova and a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul for the remains of the journalist. 

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