ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabian officials started planning to murder writer Jamal Khashoggi days before his death in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate.
Erdogan, speaking to MPs of his ruling AK Party, said the officials began plotting against Khashoggi in late September, days ahead of his disappearance after he entered the consulate on 2 October.
The BBCreported that Erdogan said Turkey has strong evidence that Khashoggi's killing was premeditated and that the suspects should be tried in Istanbul.
Erdogan said that 18 people had been arrested in Saudi Arabia over the case.
The Turkish President's comments contradicted Saudi accounts that Khashoggi died accidentally in a "fistfight" in the consulate.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to obtain papers needed for his upcoming wedding. His fiancée, who was waiting outside, alerted friends and authorities when he never emerged.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's fiancée, who is a Turkish national, is now reportedly under 24-hour police protection in Turkey.