A friend of a Saudi journalist who went missing in Istanbul said officials told him to “make your funeral preparations” as he claimed the Washington Post contributor was killed at the Saudi consulate.
Turan Kislakci, a friend of Jamal Khashoggi and the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, said officials also told him they “have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way” and dismembered.
Saudi officials have denied the allegations that Mr Khashoggi was killed as “baseless”.
One Turkish official said authorities believe Mr Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate, while another said it was a “high possibility”.
Mr Khashoggi disappeared on Tuesday.
The growing dispute over his fate threatens relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had faced criticism in Mr Khashoggi’s columns.
Mr Kislakci said he believes Turkish officials will soon announce the findings of their investigation.
He said: “What was explained to us is this: ‘He was killed, make your funeral preparations.’
“We called a few other places, these are lower officials, but they said: ‘We have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way, we will announce it tomorrow or the day after.’”
Mr Kislakci also alleged, based on conversations with officials, that Mr Khashoggi was made to “faint”, before being dismembered.
A Turkish official said an “initial assessment” by police concluded Mr Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate.
On Sunday, another official said there was a “high probability” that Mr Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was taken away.
The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said: “If the reports of Jamal’s murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act.
“Jamal was – or, as we hope, is – a committed, courageous journalist.
“He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom.”