"Based on their initial findings, the police believe that the journalist was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day", the official told AFP on Saturday, October 6. US President Donald Trump expressed concern about his fate on Monday. "We have some concrete information, it won't be an unresolved crime", the Middle East Eye reported. But if proven, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi would be the most serious diplomatic crisis between the two in living memory.
Reuters journalists toured the six-storey consulate in northern Istanbul which Khashoggi entered on Tuesday to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.
Khashoggi is believed to be one of the targets.
The New York Times account says its sources report the Saudis "had arrived to silence Mr. Khashoggi, but that it was not clear if the plan had been to bring him back to Saudi Arabia alive, and something went wrong, or if the intention was to kill him there".
Erdogan's comments were his most direct suggestion yet of potential Saudi culpability in Khashoggi's disappearance.
Khashoggi spent a year ago in the U.S. in self-imposed exile, after he fled the kingdom amid a crackdown on intellectuals and activists who questioned the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He said the consulate was equipped with cameras but they did not record footage, so no images could be retrieved of Khashoggi entering or leaving the consulate, which is ringed by police barriers and has high security fences topped with barbed wire.
That harshness corresponds with the growing concerns internationally about the direction Saudi Arabia is taking under Prince Mohammed and his father.
"Consulate officials can not save themselves by saying that he left the building", Mr Erdogan told a news conference on Monday.
The issue threatens to strain the close relationship Prince Mohammed has forged with the Trump administration, which until now has been willing to turn a blind eye to alleged Saudi human rights violations in Yemen, where it leads a coalition bombing Houthi rebels that has killed thousands of civilians.
The allegations of what the Saudi authorities may have done to one of their most prominent critics are - if proven - horrific.
What have both countries said?.
Turkey's foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador over the issue.
Turkey sought permission Monday from Saudi Arabia to search Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, looking for clues to the disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist whom Turkish officials have concluded was murdered inside the diplomatic outpost.
In a March 6 Guardian editorial co-authored with Robert Lacey, he wrote: "For his domestic reform programme, the crown prince deserves praise".
Turkey's media are now saying with increasing certainty that the Saudi journalist who visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday and never came out was murdered by the Saudis and that his body was removed by a group of 12 Saudi officials.