- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says fresh paint may have been laid down inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to cover potentially crucial evidence, including “toxic materials” that could be tied to the disappearance two weeks ago of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While investigators combing through the consulate Monday night apparently found no conclusive proof that Mr. Khashoggi was slain there, Mr. Erdogan told reporters Tuesday that an “intense” investigation is underway and “will continue.”

“The investigation is looking into many things, such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting over them,” the Turkish president said, according to video circulating Tuesday on various websites, including that of Yeni Safak or “New Dawn,” a conservative daily newspaper in Turkey.

The comments came as fresh speculation mounted around the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, with other Turkish officials saying that an additional search — this time of the Saudi consul’s home in Istanbul — is imminent.

Turkish authorities have said they fear Mr. Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and critic of the Saudi ruling family, was killed and dismembered inside the Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2.

Saudi officials have called the allegations “baseless,” although various news reports Tuesday claimed the Kingdom may soon acknowledge Mr. Khashoggi was killed at the consulate and claim his death was the result of an interrogation gone wrong.

SEE ALSO: Mike Pompeo tells Saudi officials of U.S. ‘concern’ over Jamal Khashoggi, missing journalist

The case has triggered international intrigue and caused headaches for Washington, amid calls from lawmakers for the Trump administration to reconsider its close alliance with Saudi Arabia.

President Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the region Monday. Mr. Pompeo met Tuesday in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince, and is slated to travel on to Turkey on Tuesday night.

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

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