Turkish investigators have found traces of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals in a well at the Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul, a source at the Turkish attorney general’s office has told Al Jazeera.
The discovery comes about six weeks after the journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi consulate. He is now believed to have been murdered, despite early claims from Saudi officials that he left the building unscathed. In late October, those authorities acknowledged that he had been killed; early this month, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly repeated earlier promises to find out who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, and punish them.
Turkish investigators first tried to gain access to the consul’s garden and well shaft in mid-October, but were refused permission. But they “briefly” took samples from the top of the well shaft, the Qatari news outlet reported, which now show evidence of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals. Samples taken from the sewer and drainage system in the area showed signs of the same substances.
The whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains has been a constant question in recent weeks. On Friday (Nov. 2), an aide to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they believed his body had been placed in acid after being dismembered, “to dissolve his remains more easily,” he said. “Now we see that they did not only dismember his body but also vaporized it.”
Though this latest revelation may look like yet another smoking gun, diplomatic action from the rest of the world for Khashoggi’s death has been minimal. Speaking yesterday (Nov. 7), Donald Trump said he was forming (paywall) a “very strong opinion” on what had happened—though he didn’t reveal precisely what that opinion might be.