Khashoggi killing a 'political murder': Erdogan

KONFRONTASI-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul was planned by Saudi officials days in advance.

Addressing legislators from his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Tuesday, Erdogan detailed Khashoggi's disappearance and murder, but stopped short of accusing Saudi royals for the "savage" killing that has caused global outrage.

"On September 28, Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi Arabian consulate for him to sort out his wedding paperwork," Erdogan said during the speech in the Turkish parliament in the capital, Ankara.

"It seems that at that time they [Saudi Arabian officials] started to plan a roadmap for his murder."

He added some officials left Turkey and travelled to Saudi Arabia, "indicating they planned the murder".

Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post columnist and critic of MBS, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.

So far, Erdogan had remained largely silent on the case, although unnamed Turkish officials have leaked information about his killing, including information over a 15-member Saudi "assassination team" who flew into Istanbul on two chartered planes. 

In the wake of intense global pressure, Saudi Arabia admitted last week that Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul consulate on October 2 as a result of a "fistfight" during an interrogation.

Saudi authorities arrested 18 people in connection with the killing and fired top security officials considered close to bin Salman.

Erdogan called the killing a "political murder", adding that international investigators should be included in the probe.

The Turkish leader called Khashoggi's killing "savage", adding that Ankara continue its investigation until all questions have been answered.

"Why did they [the Saudi team] come to Istanbul, on instruction by whom?" Erdogan asked, adding that Saudi Arabia should make clear why it did not let investigators into the consulate until days later.