The Saudi Crown Prince spoke to Jamal Khashoggi by phone to ask him to return to Riyadh shortly before the writer was murdered by a hit squad, a Turkish news outlet has claimed.
Khashoggi, 59, was reportedly arrested by a 15-strong team of Saudi officials soon after entering the building in Istanbul at 1pm on October 2.
According to the Turkish news website Yeni Safak, he then spoke on the phone to 33-year-old Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who tried to convince the journalist to return to the kingdom.
The website claims that he refused, fearing he would be arrested and killed in Saudi Arabia. After this, it is claimed, Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate.
It comes as a Turkish TV channel claimed Saudi officials burned evidence in the garden of the consulate the day after Khashoggi was killed.
Pro-government channel A Haber published footage of three men in suits putting papers into a burning mental barrel and claimed they were destroying documents relating to the journalist’s death.
The TV anchor can be heard saying: ‘This is an archaic way to destroy documents. They don’t even use a document shredder. It is likely that they would like to completely destroy every evidence related to Khashoggi.’
Twitter users speculated the video was taken by a Turkish spy drone. The Turkish government has not commented on the footage.
Also tonight, one Saudi and one Turkish intelligence source told Reuters that the Saudi royal aide sacked over the killing directed the murder by giving orders over Skype.
Saud Al-Qahtani, who ran social media for the crown prince, allegedly insulted the journalist after he was seized in the consulate before telling a hit squad ‘bring me the head of the dog’.
He was sacked from his post on Saturday and was made chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, a role he had held before.
Earlier on Monday, Turkish police looking for Khashoggi’s body swarmed an underground car park in Istanbul after finding a car belonging to the Saudi consulate.
Officers found the black Mercedes Benz with diplomatic plates parked in the Sultangazi district of the city and said they would start a forensic search.
Turkish media broadcast pictures of the parked car as well a man who parked it a few days after Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate on 2 October.
After weeks of denying any knowledge of his death, the Saudi government admitted the Washington Post journalist had died but claimed he was killed in a fist fight.
Turkish media and officials say the 59-year-old was attacked by a 15-man Saudi team that pulled off his fingers one by one, strangled him to death over eight minutes and dismembered his body.
Analysts say President Erogan has repeatedly authorised the leak of incriminating information to pressure Saudi Arabia without apportioning direct blame for Khashoggi’s death.