Turkey will "never allow a cover-up" of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, a senior official in Turkey's ruling party said Saturday after Saudi Arabia announced hours earlier that the writer died during a "fistfight" in its consulate.
However, amid the rising global pressure, Turkey and Saudi Arabia conducted a joint search of the Saudi consulate.
The admission - after persistent claims by the Saudi authorities that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive - came following the threat of United States sanctions.
"The reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with US intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS in Saudi Arabia, and that the prince then may have acted on that and one of the people he took action against was Mr. Khashoggi", Castro said. Turkish police also searched a forest outside Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara for the remains of the journalist.
Both said they "condemned the crime in the sharpest possible manner", adding that they expected "transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of (Khashoggi's) death and the background". "His body, Saudi officials told several journalists, was handed over to a "local collaborator" for disposal", it said, while also criticizing Trump for allegedly trying to help top Saudi leaders escape "meaningful accountability".
The statement contradicts reports by pro-government media in Turkey, which have published surveillance video and other material suggesting Mr Khashoggi was killed by an assassination squad with ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
A security guard stands behind barriers blocking the road leading to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi authorities said 18 Saudi suspects were in custody for his slaying and intelligence officials had been fired.
One diplomat who deals with the issue said that if Pompeo had heard the audio, it would be a "total game changer" and require a much more forceful USA response. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
Earlier Friday, Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country has not provided the audio recording of Khashoggi's alleged killing to American officials but promised that Turkey would "share with the world" the results of its investigation, according to Anadolu.
Khashoggi (pictured above center) was a Saudi citizen but worked for the newspaper with a temporary US residency card.
On Saturday, King Salman increased his support for the crown prince, putting him in charge of the official review of the Saudi intelligence apparatus.
Calling for a United Nations probe into Khashoggi's killing, Cherkaoui said: "The longer it takes, the more politicised it will become. and you need someone who doesn't have any political investment in the process". Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the number-two official in the country's intelligence service.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the administration or the Saudi government.