Saudi Arabia has sold its consulate building in Istanbul where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last year, a Turkish TV report claimed.
Haberturk TV said on Tuesday that the building located in Istanbul’s upscale neighbourhood of Levent was sold to an undeclared buyer 45 days ago for one-third of its value.
“A new building for the consulate had already been purchased in Sariyer district, which also hosts the US Consulate,” the report added, without providing any sources.
A Turkish foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to diplomatic protocol, told Middle East Eye that they didn’t have any information confirming the sale.
The Saudi Arabian government would have needed to seek permission from the foreign ministry for the sale and the reason would be security, according to the report.
“The Saudi security team who visited Turkey immediately after the Khashoggi murder had prepared a technical report that said they couldn’t discover all the bugs in the consulate and therefore a new building was needed,” the report said.
“The Saudis are also trying to sell the consul general’s official residence, which is located very close to the consulate. But they couldn’t find any buyer yet.”
Saudi Arabia hasn’t had a consul general in Istanbul since last October. However, the consulate began to offer visa services immediately after Khashoggi’s murder.
A second Turkish official told MEE last week that Istanbul’s prosecutor had almost completed an indictment against suspects in the Khashoggi case and it will be released on the first anniversary of the murder.
The Haberturk report speculated that after the move the authorities may need to seal the building for some time to search for further evidence since it is still a crime scene.
Many local NGOs and international organisations are planning to hold vigils outside the Saudi consulate to highlight the fact that that authorities have still not found Khashoggi’s mutilated body and no one has yet been held responsible for the murder
Middle East Eye