Key moments surrounding the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Istanbul – Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote critically of the kingdom’s policies and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. Turkish officials say a 15-men team tortured, killed and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabia says he died in a “fistfight.”
Here are some key moments in the slaying of the Washington Post columnist:
Before his disappearance
–September 2017: The Post publishes the first column by Khashoggi in its newspaper, in which the former royal court insider and longtime journalist writes about going into a self-imposed exile in the U.S. over the rise of Prince Mohammed. His following columns criticize the prince and the kingdom’s direction.
–Sept. 28, 2018: Over a year after the Post published his first column, Khashoggi visits the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, seeking documents in order to get married. He’s later told to return Oct. 2, his fiancée Hatice Cengiz says. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a plan or a “road map” to kill Khashoggi was devised in Saudi Arabia during this time.
–Sept. 29: Khashoggi travels to London and speaks at a conference.
–Oct. 1: Khashoggi returns to Istanbul. At around 16:30, a three-person Saudi team arrives in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, checks in to their hotels then visits the consulate, according to Erdogan. The Turkish president says another group of officials from the consulate travel to a forest in Istanbul’s outskirts and to the nearby city of Yalova on a “reconnaissance” trip.
The day of his disappearance
–3:28 a.m. Oct. 2: A private jet arrives at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport carrying some members of what Turkish media will refer to as a 15-member Saudi “assassination squad.” Other members of the team arrive by two commercial flights in the afternoon. Erdogan says the team includes Saudi security and intelligence officials and a forensics expert. They meet at the Saudi Consulate. One of the first things they do is to dismantle a hard disk connected to the consulate’s camera system, the president says.
––11:50 a.m. Khashoggi is called to confirm his appointment at the consulate later that day, Erdogan says.
–1:14 p.m.: Surveillance footage later leaked to Turkish media shows Khashoggi walking into the main entrance of the Saudi Consulate. No footage made public ever shows him leaving. His fiancée waits outside, pacing for hours.
–3:07 p.m.: Surveillance footage shows vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving the Saudi Consulate for the consul general’s home some 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
––5:50 p.m.: Khashoggi’s fiancée alerts authorities, saying he may have been forcibly detained inside the consulate or that something bad may have happened to him, according to Erdogan.
–7 p.m.: A private plane from Saudi Arabia carries six members of the alleged Saudi squad from Istanbul to Cairo, the next day returning to Riyadh.
–11 p.m.: Seven members of the alleged Saudi squad leave on another private jet to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which the next day returns to Riyadh. Two others leave by commercial flights.
–– Erdogan confirms reports that a “body double” – a man wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and a beard – leaves the consulate building for Riyadh with another person on a scheduled flight later that day.
–Oct. 3: Khashoggi’s fiancée and the Post go public with his disappearance. Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi visited the consulate and exited shortly thereafter. Turkish officials suggest Khashoggi might still be in the consulate. Prince Mohammed tells Bloomberg: “We have nothing to hide.”
–Oct. 4: Saudi Arabia says on its state-run news agency that the consulate is carrying out “follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building.”
–Oct. 5: The Post prints a blank column in its newspaper in solidarity with Khashoggi, headlined: “A missing voice.”
–Oct. 6: The Post, citing anonymous Turkish officials, reports Khashoggi may have been killed in the consulate in a “preplanned murder” by a Saudi team.
–Oct. 7: A friend of Khashoggi tells the AP that officials told him the writer was killed at the consulate. The consulate rejects what it calls “baseless allegations.”
–Oct. 8: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey is summoned over Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged killing.
–Oct. 9: Turkey says it will search the Saudi Consulate as a picture of Khashoggi walking into the diplomatic post surfaces.
–Oct. 10: Surveillance footage is leaked of Khashoggi and the alleged Saudi squad that killed him. Khashoggi’s fiancée asks President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump for help.
–Oct. 11: Turkish media describes Saudi squad as including royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert. Trump calls Khashoggi’s disappearance a “bad situation” and promises to get to the bottom of it.
–Oct. 12: Trump again pledges to find out what happened to Khashoggi.
–Oct. 13: A pro-government newspaper reports that Turkish officials have an audio recording of Khashoggi’s alleged killing from his Apple Watch, but details in the report come into question.
–Oct. 14: Trump says that “we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is involved. The kingdom responds with a blistering attack against those who threaten it, as the manager of a Saudi-owned satellite news channel suggests the country could retaliate through its oil exports. The Saudi stock exchange plunges as much as 7 percent at one point.
–Oct. 15: A Turkish forensics team enters and searches the Saudi Consulate, an extraordinary development as such diplomatic posts are considered sovereign soil. Trump suggests after a call with Saudi King Salman that “rogue killers” could be responsible for Khashoggi’s alleged slaying. Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the Mideast over the case. Meanwhile, business leaders say they won’t attend an economic summit in the kingdom that’s the brainchild of Prince Mohammed.
–Oct. 16: A high-level Turkish official tells the AP that “certain evidence” was found in the Saudi Consulate proving Khashoggi was killed there. Pompeo arrives for meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and Prince Mohammed. Meanwhile, Trump compares the case to the appointment of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing, saying: “Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
–Oct. 17: Pompeo meets with Turkey’s president and foreign minister in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Turkish police search the official residence of Saudi Arabia’s consul general in Istanbul and conduct a second sweep of the consulate.
–Oct. 18: A leaked surveillance photograph shows a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage walked into the consulate just before Khashoggi vanished there. The Washington Post publishes Khashoggi's last column.
–Oct. 20: Saudi Arabia for the first time acknowledges Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, claiming he was slain in a “fistfight.” The claim draws immediate skepticism from the kingdom’s Western allies, particularly in the U.S. Congress.
–Oct. 22: A report says a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office around the time Khashoggi was killed. Police search a vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate parked at an underground garage in Istanbul.
-Oct. 22: President Donald Trump said he spoke with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and is still not satisfied with the Saudi Arabian government’s explanation of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
––Oct 23: Erdogan says Saudi officials murdered Khashoggi after plotting his death for days, demanding that Saudi Arabia reveal the identities of all involved.