Saudi explanations thus far have proved to be inadequate, late or deliberately misleading. They are running out of time to save their international reputation.

"Turkish security services have evidence that the murder was a planned affair," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced as he delivered a blow by blow account of the slaying of Washington Post columnist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi. 

In his address to the Turkish AK Party parliamentarians, Erdogan left no room for doubt that Khashoggi's death was a pre-planned and premeditated affair. 

Here are some of the key points raised in his address.

Where is the body?

Over a period of two days, the Saudis assembled a team of 15 people that would spearhead the killing of Khashoggi. 

On October 1, a three-man team from Saudi Arabia arrived in Istanbul. 

After visiting the consulate, the Turkish authorities pinpointed two key places the Saudi reconnaissance team is suspected of having visited. 

They visited the sprawling Belgrad Forest in the outskirts of Istanbul and later Yalova, on the Sea of Marmara. Both places, the Turkish authorities believe, were being scouted as potential areas where the body could have been disposed in whole or in part. 

With more than three weeks since Khashoggi disappeared, and the Saudi failure to produce a body – the Turkish authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the body of Khashoggi remains in Turkey. 

The Hit Squad

A 15 member team was assembled in three batches. 

On October 1, the first team of three people arrived at 4:30 am local time, the second team of three arrived on October 2, 1:45 am followed by a group of 9 people who flew in on a private jet later that day. 

They regrouped at the consulate on October 2 and proceed to remove the hard drive disk from the CCTV. 

After Khashoggi was murdered, the hit squad comprising of security, intelligence personnel, and forensic specialists left Turkey that same day in two batches. 

Their arrival and exit from Turkey within a 24-hour period suggest that their mission was premeditated and planned.  

Since then Saudi authorities have arrested 18 people and passed their names on to Turkish authorities, which matched the 15 names the Turkish authorities had in their possession.

International investigation

"I do not doubt the sincerity of King Salman of Saudi Arabia," said President Erdogan. A key element missing from this mention was Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the erratic crown prince at the centre of this murder mystery. 

Even though the death of Jamal Khashoggi took place in the Saudi consulate, considered sovereign Saudi territory according to international law, the Turkish president made the case that the investigation into the killing and the prosecution of the individuals cannot be carried out by those linked with the perpetrators. 

This was a not-so-subtle sign that Saudi authorities have proven themselves unwilling to investigate the murder of Khashoggi in particular as it affects the crown prince himself, MBS. 

More questions for the Saudis

Erdogan's speech delivered a hitherto unknown element that a local conspirator was involved. 

Finding out who that person is may very well lead authorities to the missing body. 

Moreover, the Saudis have yet to provide a minute by minute account of what the hit squad did. The tough questions posed by Erdogan were questions that he surely expects Kings Salman of Saudi Arabia to ask of his son. 

Turkish investigators are closing in on MBS and his associates. If they are forced, as they have been every step of the way, to admit the truth, Saudi Arabia may find that it will have lost a great deal of credibility, irreparably so under MBS.