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The order to kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the highest level of the Saudi government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday, adding that the worldwide community had the responsibility to "reveal the puppet masters" behind the slaying.

The murder has strained the decades-old alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia and tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the ultra-conservative kingdom's de facto ruler.

We also know that those individuals came to carry out their orders: "Kill Khashoggi and leave", Erdogan wrote.

"As responsible members of the global community, we must reveal the identities of the puppet masters behind Khashoggi's killing and discover those in whom Saudi officials still trying to cover up..."

Erdogan said there was more to Khashoggi's death than just action by "a group of security officials", he said.

The official said investigators do not believe Saudi Arabia's official story on what happened to the body.

People hold posters picturing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and lightened candles during a gathering outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, on October 25, 2018.

The crown prince also reportedly urged President Trump's advisers Jared Kushner and John Bolton in the call to preserve the alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Khashoggi was "brutally murdered" in a Saudi operation that involved more than a dozen men.

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The US-Saudi relationship "is too big to fail", Prince Turki said.

The murder of the royal insider-turned-dissident has provoked widespread outrage against Riyadh and fuelled an global debate about arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia, a key Washington ally against Iran.

Saudi Arabia has changed its statement on the events surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance multiple times.

A Saudi official on Wednesday denied the allegations that the crown prince made any such comments, the Post reported, saying "routine calls do exist from time to time".

Khashoggi disappeared after he entered the consulate on October 2 even as his fiancée Hatice Cengiz waited outside the building.

The attempt to criticise Khashoggi in private stands in contrast to the Saudi government's later public statements decrying his death as a "terrible mistake" and "terrible tragedy", the sources said.

"If the democracies of the world do not take genuine steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of this brazen, callous act - one that has caused universal outrage among their citizens - what moral authority are they left with?, " she asked.

But Ms Cengiz stressed that she was "not naïve", and aware that the global response to her fiancé's death would depend on each government's economic and strategic relationship with Riyadh.


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