Photo Exhibition in Turkey Remembers Fidel

The mayor of the Turkish district of Kadikoy, in Istanbul, and Cuban ambassador to Turkey inaugurated on Sunday a photo exhibition about Fidel Castro, on the second anniversary of his death.

The municipal councilor, Aykurt Nuhoglu, referred to Fidel as the leader of the Revolution and its people', stressing the importance of passing his legacy on to the future generations, and drew a parallel with the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

He praised Cuba's advances in the fields of education, culture and art, thanks to the revolutionary process led by Fidel, and also cited the important social advances that women experienced in gaining responsibilities and rights on the island.

Nuhoglu criticized the long economic blockade that the United States applied against Cuba, which still maintains all its harshness, and regretted that the current administration in Washington decided to abandon the process of normalization of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Cuban diplomat Luis Alberto Amoros thanked the mayor for celebrating this act of tribute to the historic leader of the Revolution and explained to those present the importance of Fidel's legacy at a time when a process of constitutional reform is taking place on the island.

Liliam Mendoza, parliamentarian and representative of the Young Communist League, and Marta Carvajal, journalist and director of Mundo Latino, members of the delegation that will participate in the Cuba Week organized by the solidarity movement in Turkey, were also present at the presentation of the photographic exhibition.

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"They Got Rid Of Khashoggi's Body By Dissolving It": Top Turkish Official

Ankara: The body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was "dissolved" after he was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a month ago, an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.

The claim echoed what a Turkish official had told the Washington Post -- for which Khashoggi was a contributor -- that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

Highlights

  1. Authorities investigating theory that his body was destroyed in acid
  2. "Body cut up because it was easier to dissolve": Turkish officer
  3. Saudi Arabia has faced international condemnation over the killing

"We now see that it wasn't just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it," Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Erdogan and official in Turkey's ruling party, told the Hurriyet newspaper on Friday.

"According to the latest information we have, the reason they cut up the body is it was easier to dissolve it," Aktay said.

Saudi Arabia has faced a torrent of international condemnation over the killing of the royal insider-turned-critic.

Turkey's chief prosecutor on Wednesday confirmed for the first time that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate on October 2 as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.

"They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left. This is what is understood from the prosecutor's statement, said Aktay, who was close to the journalist.

"Killing an innocent person is one crime, the treatment and extent of what was done to the body is another crime and dishonour."

The Turkish official quoted by the Washington Post said that "biological evidence" found in the consulate's garden indicated the body was likely disposed of near where Khashoggi was killed.

"Khashoggi's body was not in need of burying," the official told the US newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

Saudi authorities have denied Turkish police permission to search a well in the consulate's garden, but did allow them to take water samples for analysis, according to local media reports.

The murder has placed strain on the decades-old alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday it may take "a handful more weeks" before Washington has enough evidence to impose sanctions on the individuals responsible.

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Turkey Want 18 Saudi Khashoggi Muderers Extradited

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier demanded Saudi Arabia reveal the location of Khashoggi's body and hand over the suspects.

The prosecutor's office in Istanbul has submitted an official extradition request to Saudi Arabia for the 18 individuals suspected of murdering Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

RELATED: Yemeni Death Toll From Saudi-led War in Five Times Higher Than Previously Reported: Study

None of the 18 have been formally charged with the offense, and it's looking increasingly likely that Saudi Arabia will reject the Turkish request for extradition. 

Speaking to CNN, Saudi Adel Al-Jubeir claimed, "The individuals are Saudi nationals. They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia."

However, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamir Gul said Friday that Turkey wants its extradition request fulfilled since "this atrocious incident happened in Turkey."

He also stated that, Turkish institutions were capable and determined in their investigation, according to Turkey's state news agency Anadolu.

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Erdoğan meets Merkel, Putin ahead of Syria summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Istanbul on Saturday ahead of a four-way Syria summit.

The summit on Syria, hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will see the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN special Syria envoy, will also attend the summit.

During the summit, the leaders will address the Syrian conflict in all its aspects, focusing on the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement, and the political process, and harmonizing joint efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict.

The leaders will also discuss the Sept. 17 agreement between Ankara and Moscow to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

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Turkey Demands to Know Who Ordered 'Savage' Khashoggi Killing

President Erdogan's comments came as Reuters reported that CIA Director Gina Haspel was traveling to Turkey to work on the Khashoggi investigation.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed Tuesday attempts by Riyadh to blame Jamal Khashoggi's "savage" killing on rogue operatives, saying the person who ordered the death of the prominent Saudi journalist must "be brought to account."

RELATED: Aid to Saudi Crown Prince Behind Murder, Conducted it Via Skype

In a speech to parliament about a case that has sparked outrage around the globe, Erdogan did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who some U.S. lawmakers suspect ordered the killing.

But he said Turkey would not complete its investigation into Khashoggi's death until all questions have been answered, including the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body, and the identity of a local collaborator Riyadh says disposed of the body.

"Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned. .... Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community," he said.

"The Saudi administration has taken an important step by admitting to the murder. From now on, we expect them to uncover all those responsible for this matter from top to bottom and make them face the necessary punishments."

"From the person who gave the order, to the person who carried it out, they must all be brought to account."

A Saudi cabinet meeting chaired by King Salman said Riyadh would hold to account those responsible for the killing and those who failed in their duties, whoever they were.

Erdogan's speech coincided with the opening in Riyadh of an investment conference which Western political figures, leading international bankers, and company executives have boycotted because of the furor around Khashoggi's death.

The Washington Post columnist, a former aide to the Saudi royal court who recently turned into a sharp critic of the crown prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler, disappeared three weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents. Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the killing of the 59-year-old. Erdogan made no reference to any audio recording in his speech.

Riyadh initially denied knowledge of his fate before saying he was killed in a fight in the consulate.

RELATED: Western Powers Decline to Cut Ties With Saudi Arabia Despite Outcry Over Khashoggi’s Murder

Erdogan said three operatives arrived in Istanbul the day before Khashoggi's killing on an apparent reconnaissance mission. The next day, 15 people came to the consulate, including security, intelligence and forensic experts. Consulate personnel were given the day off.

"Why did these 15 people meet in Istanbul on the day of the murder? We are seeking answers to this. Who are these people receiving orders from?" Erdogan said. He added he wanted Saudi Arabia to send the suspects to Turkey for trial.

The news comes as CIA Director Gina Haspel was traveling to Turkey Monday to work on the Khashoggi investigation, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

On Saturday, Saudi state media said King Salman had fired five officials over the killing, including Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide who ran social media for Prince Mohammed.

Despite the furor, Saudi Arabia said it expected to sign deals worth more than $50 billion in the oil, gas, industries and infrastructure sectors on the opening day, with companies including Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

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Saudi operative wore Khashoggi’s clothes, acted as decoy to fool Turkish police – report

An unnamed senior Turkish official has told CNN that one of the 15-man hit squad that allegedly murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a doppelgänger who left the Saudi Consulate in the slain reporters’ clothes moments after the killing.

“You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation,” the official reportedly told CNN. “Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate.”

@AmichaiStein1 : Surveillance footage shows Saudi operative in Khashoggi's clothes after he was killed, Turkish source says to @CNN

Surveillance footage allegedly provided by Turkish authorities to CNN purports to show Khashoggi’s lookalike, named as Mustafa al-Madani, leaving the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul via the rear entrance, wearing the journalist’s own clothes that he wore on October 2. Madani also dons a fake beard and glasses to appear more like his alleged victim.

Four hours before the killing, al-Madani was seen entering the consulate building beardless, wearing a blue and white checked shirt and dark blue trousers but, moments after the incident, al-Madani can be seen wearing what appears to be Khashoggi’s own dark blazer, open-collared grey shirt and trousers.  

“Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on,” the senior Turkish official told CNN.

Madani, 57, is of similar age and build to Khashoggi, 59, and was reportedly brought in as a decoy to throw Turkish investigators off the killers’ trail.

 
Activists protest the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi during demonstration outside the White House in Washington © Reuters / Leah Millis

However, in the footage, Madani is wearing the same sneakers he had on prior to entering the consulate that do not match Khashoggi's outfit. He then later appears at the city’s famous Blue Mosque, a popular tourist destination where he could blend in with the crowd, before changing back into his own clothes.

Additional surveillance footage allegedly shows Madani’s accomplices dumping Khashoggi’s clothes in a dumpster elsewhere in the city.

So far, the Saudis’ explanation for what fate befell Khashoggi has changed multiple times, having initially claimed his death was the result of a fistfight at the consulate, before claiming he had been placed in a chokehold and died accidentally, and later admitting that the journalist’s death was indeed murder and a “tremendous mistake.”

Khashoggi’s remains have yet to be found as pressure mounts on the Saudi government to clarify the circumstances of the dissident, vocal al-Saud critic and Washington Post journalist’s death.

Turkish officials have repeatedly leaked to the media throughout the ongoing investigation which has drawn global media attention and political uproar among the international community.

Authorities in Turkey have yet to confirm or deny the existence of a rumored audio recording of the killing from inside the consulate.

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Jamal Khashoggi Was Choked To Death, Says Saudi Official's Latest Account

RIYADH: As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that in key respects contradicts previous explanations.

The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on Oct. 2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a "local cooperator" for disposal. Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that.

The Saudi official presented what he said were internal Saudi intelligence documents which appeared to describe an initiative to bring dissidents home to Saudi Arabia, including the specific one involving Khashoggi. He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team's cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe. He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the investigation and the other evidence.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering. When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations "baseless."

Asked by Reuters why the government's version of Khashoggi's death kept changing, the official said the government initial account was based on "false information reported internally at the time."

"Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, it launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment," the official said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Turkish sources say authorities in Turkey have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder inside the consulate but have not released it.

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation.

33jfol1gCCTV footage shows Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (R) arriving at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia's handling of Khashoggi's death and said questions remain unanswered. Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia's explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.

According to the latest version of the death, the government wanted to convince Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views, to return to the kingdom as part of a campaign to prevent Saudi dissidents from being recruited by the country's enemies, the official said.

To that end, the official said, the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, put together a 15-member team from the intelligence and security forces to go to Istanbul, meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

"There is a standing order to negotiate the return of dissidents peacefully; which gives them the authority to act without going back to the leadership" the official said.

"Asiri is the one who formed the team and asked for an employee who worked with (senior royal adviser Saud) al-Qahtani and who knew Jamal from the time they both worked at the embassy in London," he said.

The official said Qahtani, who worked for the crown prince, had signed off on one of his employees conducting the negotiations.

Chokehold

According to the plan, the team could hold Khashoggi in a safe house outside Istanbul for "a period of time" but then release him if he ultimately refused to return to Saudi Arabia, the official said.

Things went wrong from the start as the team overstepped their orders and quickly employed violence, the official said.

Khashoggi was ushered into the consul general's office where an operative named Maher Mutreb spoke to him about returning to Saudi Arabia, according to the government's account.

Khashoggi refused and told Mutreb that someone was waiting outside for him and would contact the Turkish authorities if he did not reappear within an hour, the official said.

Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has told Reuters he had handed her his two mobile phones and left instructions that she should wait for him and call an aide to Turkey's president if he did not reappear.

Inside the consul's office, according to the official's account, Khashoggi told Mutreb he was violating diplomatic norms and said, "What are you going to do with me? Do you intend to kidnap me?"

Mutreb replied, "Yes, we will drug you and kidnap you," in what the official said was an attempt at intimidation that violated the mission's objective.

When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They moved to restrain him, placing him in a chokehold and covering his mouth, according to the government's account.

"They tried to prevent him from shouting but he died," the official said. "The intention was not to kill him."

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: "If you put someone of Jamal's age in this position, he would probably die."

MISSING BODY

To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi's body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a "local cooperator" for disposal, the official said. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said.

Turkish officials have told Reuters that Khashoggi's killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest adjacent to Istanbul, and at a rural location near the city of Yalova, 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Istanbul.

Turkish investigators are likely to find out what happened to the body "before long," a senior official said.

The Saudi official said the local cooperator is an Istanbul resident but would not reveal his nationality. The official said investigators were trying to determine where the body ended up.

Meanwhile, operative Mustafa Madani donned Khashoggi's clothes, eyeglasses and Apple watch and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look like Khashoggi had walked out of the building. Madani went to the Sultanahmet district where he disposed of the belongings.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for superiors saying they had allowed Khashoggi to leave once he warned that Turkish authorities could get involved and that they had promptly left the country before they could be discovered.

Sceptics have asked why so many people, including military officers and a forensics expert specializing in autopsies, were part of the operation if the objective was to convince Khashoggi to return home of his own volition.

The disappearance of Khashoggi, a Saudi insider turned critic, has snowballed into a massive crisis for the kingdom, forcing the 82-year-old monarch, King Salman, to personally get involved. It has threatened the kingdom's business relationships, with several senior executives and government officials shunning an investor conference in Riyadh scheduled for next week and some U.S. lawmakers putting pressure on Trump to impose sanctions and stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The official said all 15 team members had been detained and placed under investigation, along with three other local suspects.

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Suspected member of Khashoggi ‘hit-team’ dies in mysterious ‘traffic accident’ in Saudi Arabia

A member of the 15-man team suspected in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has died in an accident back in Saudi Arabia, according to Turkish media, prompting suspicion of a cover up.

 

Jamal Khashoggi © AFP / Mohammed Al-Shaikh

Meshal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, is believed to have died in a 'suspicious car accident' in the Saudi capital Riyadh, sources told the Turkish Yeni Safak - the one that earlier covered the shocking details of the murder.

A still taken from a Turkish police CCTV video, released by the Sabah newspaper, identified Bostani as he passed through Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2.

He, along 14 other Saudi citizens allegedly arrived and left Turkey on the same day and are alleged by Turkish police to have tortured and murdered Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate.

The unconfirmed death of Bostani has already prompted accusations on social media that a cover up was underway by those who orchestrated Khashoggi's disappearance.

These fears have also been voiced in Turkish media, with Daily Hürriyet columnist writing Thursday that Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consul-general Mohammad al Otaibi could be “the next execution.”

On Wednesday, it was reported that the consul-general returned to Saudi Arabia on October 16, before authorities searched his residence as part of their investigations.

READ MORE: Money talks: top US firms to visit Saudi business forum ignoring alleged grizzly murder of critic

In reports of an unreleased recording documenting Khashoggi's alleged murder and dismemberment, Otaibi is believed to have said "do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble," to Khashoggi's interrogators.

He was reportedly told to “shut up if you want to live when you are back in Saudi Arabia.”

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