Turkish and Saudi investigators have left the Saudi consulate and consul general's residence in Istanbul as the investigation into journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance expands.

Turkish forensic officials arrive to the residence of Saudi Arabia's Consul General Mohammad al Otaibi in Istanbul, Turkey on October 17, 2018.
Turkish forensic officials arrive to the residence of Saudi Arabia's Consul General Mohammad al Otaibi in Istanbul, Turkey on October 17, 2018. (Reuters)

A group of crime scene investigators investigating the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate and consul general's residence in Istanbul after examining the premises, live footage from the scene showed.

This is the second time the Saudi consulate was examined this week.

A team of Turkish investigators also continued their search of the Saudi consul-general's residence as part of the probe into Khashoggi's alleged murder.

TRT World's Joseph Hayat has the details. 

Turkish crime-scene investigators had entered the residence of the Saudi consul general on Wednesday to search for evidence, just as Turkey's daily Yeni Safak published a gruesome recounting of his alleged slaying.

Saudi Arabia's flag flapped overhead as forensics teams walked into the residence, only 2 kilometres from the consulate where Khashoggi vanished on October 2 while trying to pick up paperwork to get married. 

It was the second-such extraordinary search of land considered under international law to be Saudi sovereign soil after Turkish police searched the consulate during the early hours of Thursday morning.

The new search has put further pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi after a visit by US Secretary Mike Pompeo to both the kingdom and Turkey. 

Flying back home, Pompeo remained positive about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, but stressed answers need to come soon.

"Sooner's betters than later for everyone," Pompeo said.

The residence search came after a report by the newspaper Yeni Safak citing what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi's slaying.

It described the 60-year-old Washington Post columnist as being tortured after entering the consulate.

The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble."

The newspaper said one of the Saudis torturing Khashoggi replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia."

Saudi officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press in recent days. 

Otaibi left Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, Turkish state media reported.

TRT World correspondent Caitlin McGee has details from outside the Saudi consul general's home in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the US has requested audio and video evidence concerning Khashoggi's disappearance "if it exists." 

"We have asked for it. If it exists we have asked for it," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.    

Trump continued to stand by Saudi Arabia but said he is "not giving cover at all" to Riyadh, whom he repeatedly called a close US ally. 

Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in the day held separate meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, each for about 40 minutes in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

The three posed for photos, but said nothing together in front of reporters.

On a plane back home, Pompeo said Erdogan "made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information."

"If a country engages in activity that is unlawful it's unacceptable," Pompeo said. "No one is going to defend activity of that nature. We just need to simply say what happened."

Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman and his son, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday. Before leaving Riyadh, Pompeo told reporters that the Saudi leaders "made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable."

"They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official," Pompeo said.

TRT World's North America Correspondent Jon Brain is in Washington DC with more on how Khashoggi's disappearance is putting pressure on the Trump administration to take action on Saudi Arabia.

No major decisions are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom's ruling Saud family. Khashoggi had left the country last year amid the rise of Prince Mohammed, whom he wrote critically about in the Post.

On Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police found "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

President Donald Trump's previous warnings over the case drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The US president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.

Prominent US newspapers have reported, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi officials may soon acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate but blame it on a botched intelligence operation. That could, like Trump's softening comments, seek to give the kingdom a way out of the global firestorm of criticism over Khashoggi's fate.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies