Turkish police search villas for Jamal Khashoggi's remains

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State news agency Anadolu said that the officers began searching a two-story building in Termal district in Yalova with the help of sniffer dogs and drones on Monday.

In a statement, the Istanbul prosecutor said the first villa is owned by a Saudi man who had spoken to one of the murder suspects on October 1.

The businessman was not in Turkey when Khashoggi was killed and has not visited the country since, the news agency said.

Anadolu said the Saudi who owned the villa in question is a businessman who was not in Turkey during multiple phone calls with the suspects.

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So far, police have drained the grounds of the first villa of water, using specialist equipment to search for any human remains.

Yalova Gov. Muammer Erol confirmed that a search related to Khashoggi's killing was taking place but said any announcement would come from Istanbul's chief prosecutor, who is leading the Turkish probe into the killing.

Turkey has maintained pressure on Saudi Arabia over the October 2 killing of the US -based columnist for The Washington Post.

The investigation has focused attention on the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, who has imprisoned rivals, clerics and independent political activists at home. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said biological evidence discovered in the diplomatic mission garden supports the theory that Khashoggi's body was disposed of close to where he was killed and dismembered. And the prosecutors have professed ignorance about the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains, saying that the Saudi agents turned over his body to a local "collaborator".

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There have been previous inspections of the Saudi consulate and the consul general's residence in Istanbul as well as a forest in the city.

Ankara insists the orders for the killing came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, but not King Salman.

The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on 17 Saudis accused of involvement in the killing.

His body has not been found and his death has triggered widespread global criticism of Riyadh.

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Selvi wrote: "It is said that the Crown Prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the Central Intelligence Agency wiretapping".