Investigators looking for clues on Jamal Khashoggi’s whereabouts searched for traces of “toxic materials” at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen two weeks ago, Turkish media reports say, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Saudi Arabia for talks over the matter.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed some details about the consulate search while speaking to journalists Tuesday, the Associated Press reported, citing Turkey’s NTV.
The AP also cited a high-level Turkish official as saying that during the search, “certain evidence” was found by police proving that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. But the official did not elaborate.
The announcements came as Khashoggi’s family released a statement saying they are “traumatized” over his disappearance. The activist and opinion columnist – who was a critic of the Saudi government — was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, reportedly to obtain documents related to his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.
Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly claimed Khashoggi walked out of the building on his own, reportedly is now considering whether to sayrogue intelligence operatives murdered him by mistake during an interrogation.
“We are sadly and anxiously following the conflicting news regarding the fate of our father after losing contact with him two weeks ago, when he disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul,” the family’s statement said. “Our family is traumatized and yearns to be together during this painful time. The strong moral and legal responsibility which our father instilled in us obliges us to call for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death.”
In addition to the consulate search that took place Monday, a Turkish official revealed Tuesday the top Saudi diplomat’s home in Istanbul will also be investigated, the Associated Press reported. The official did not say when that search will happen, but Turkish media has reported that the diplomat, Mohammed al-Otaibi, left the country on an afternoon flight just hours it was announced.
Surveillance footage leaked to Turkish media showed that shortly after Khashoggi disappeared, vehicles were seen moving between the consulate and the diplomat’s home, according to the Associated Press.
“The Secretary and the King discussed a number of regional and bilateral issues,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said. “The Secretary also thanked the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.”
Pompeo also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is accused of ordering the detention of Khashoggi.
“We are strong and old allies,” he told Pompeo. “So we face our challenges together, the past, the day of, tomorrow.”
Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report