The United States announced Tuesday that it was revoking visas of almost two dozen Saudi officials involved in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the toughest action to date against its longtime ally, as President Donald Trump called the killing the "worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups". "They've been one of the biggest investors, maybe the biggest investor in our country", he said.
"Where it should have stopped is at the deal standpoint, when they thought about it", he continued.
The new version of events, described to AP by two Saudi officials, comes three weeks after the kingdom said Khashoggi left the consulate on his own and insisted Turkish claims he was killed by an assassination squad were unfounded.
Business leaders have been cancelling their scheduled trips to Riyadh amid the ongoing investigation into the death of Khashoggi, a United States resident and prominent critic of the Saudi government.
He also said he told Saudi King Salman that the Saudi consul in Istanbul was incompetent and that he was relieved of his duty and returned to his country.
Earlier in the day, US Vice-President Mike Pence said Erdogan's statement "flies in the face" of earlier claims made by Saudi Arabia about the Khashoggi case.
"I know that, from a certain standpoint, you could also say, 'Well, it doesn't matter, because it is a awful thing.' But we would be really hurting ourselves".
"These penalties will not be the last word", Pompeo told reporters at the State Department Tuesday. "Neither the president nor I am happy with this situation".
Turkish police on Monday found an abandoned auto belonging to the Saudi consulate at an underground vehicle park in Istanbul, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's mission.More news: India win Guwahati one day global beating West Indies by 8 wickets
A U.S. official said CIA Director Gina Haspel is in Turkey to review the case of the slain writer.
Khashoggi, a former royal family insider turned critic of the Saudi crown prince, disappeared after he entered the consulate on October 2 to collect a document for his upcoming marriage.
Trump allies and advisers have encouraged him to take a tougher stance against the oil-rich monarchy, saying that Congress would fill the vacuum and punish Saudi Arabia either way.
Riyadh says Khashoggi was accidentally choked during a rendition attempt that went wrong, and his body was rolled up in a rug and given to a third party.
"I think Congress is going to demand that there will be appropriate action".
Calling Khashoggi "the victim of a savage murder", Erdogan said that ignoring the murder would "hurt the human conscience".
On the day Mr Khashoggi arrived for his appointment and was later killed, the hard disk in the consulate's camera system was removed, Mr Erdogan said.
"They are coming back tonight and tomorrow and I will know very soon".
CIA Director Gina Haspel was travelling to Turkey on Monday to help investigate the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, two sources familiar with the matter said, as security agencies examined what role Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have played in the case.