"We know that the perpetrators are among the 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia. We also know that those individuals came to carry out their orders: Kill (Jamal) Khashoggi and leave," Turkey's President Erdogan writes in Washington Post.

Jamal Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, seeking documents for his planned upcoming marriage and has not been seen since.
Jamal Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, seeking documents for his planned upcoming marriage and has not been seen since. (AP)

The order to murder Saudi critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an op-ed piece published by the Washington Post on Friday.

However, he wrote, "I do not believe for a second that King Salman, the custodian of the holy mosques, ordered the hit on Khashoggi."

"We know that the perpetrators are among the 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia. We also know that those individuals came to carry out their orders: Kill Khashoggi and leave," Erdogan wrote. 

"Finally, we know the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government."

"Though Riyadh has detained 18 suspects, it is deeply concerning that no action has been taken against the Saudi consul general, who lied through his teeth to the media and fled Turkey shortly afterwards," Erdogan added. 

"Likewise, the refusal of the Saudi public prosecutor — who recently visited his counterpart in Istanbul — to cooperate with the investigation and answer even simple questions is very frustrating. His invitation for Turkish investigators to Saudi Arabia for more talks about the case felt like a desperate and deliberate stalling tactic." 

Dissolved in acid

Yasin Aktay, an advisor to Erdogan earlier on Friday said Khashoggi was "dissolved" after he was murdered and dismembered.

The claim echoed what a Turkish official had told the Washington Post – for which Khashoggi was a contributor – that authorities are investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.

"We now see that it wasn't just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it," Aktay told local media.

Pressure on Riyadh

Saudi Arabia has faced a torrent of international condemnation over the killing of the royal insider-turned-critic.

Turkey's chief prosecutor on Wednesday confirmed for the first time that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate on October 2 as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.

"They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left. This is what is understood from the prosecutor's statement," said Aktay, who was close to the journalist.

"Killing an innocent person is one crime, the treatment and extent of what was done to the body is another crime and dishonour."

TRT World analyst Ahmed Bedier has more. 

TRT World's Sally Ayhan spoke to the founder of The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, at the memorial service for Jamal Khashoggi. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies