Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi YouTube grab

Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's body was dissolved in acid, a top aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"We now see that it wasn't just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it," Yasin Aktay told the Hurriyet newspaper, according to the Agence France Presse.

"According to the latest information we have, the reason they cut up the body is it was easier to dissolve it," the official added.

On Wednesday, Turkey's chief prosecutor had said that Khashoggi was strangled to death as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and that his body was then dismembered.

Khashoggi disappeared after he entered the consulate on October 2 even as his fiancée Hatice Cengiz waited outside the building. Within days of the mysterious disappearance Turkish officials had made anonymous leaks to the media about the killing of the journalist, a harsh critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

However, Wednesday's statement was the first official declaration from the Turkish prosecution. According to Aktay, the journalist's body was cut into pieces as the Saudi agents did not want to leave any trace.

"They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left. This is what is understood from the prosecutor's statement, said Aktay, as per AFP.

Two weeks ago, Turkish media had revealed chilling details of the Khashoggi killing. Khashoggi was tortured and decapitated inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, the reports said, citing Turkish sources.

Unnamed Turkish official who listened to an audio tape that apparently recorded the torture had revelled that Kasogi's body was cut into pieces after he was killed on October 2.

He said the Saudi kill squad's intention was to execute Khashoggi summarily, not to question him. Khashoggi, who had arrived at the consulate to obtain papers to facilitate his marriage with Turkish girlfriend Hatice, was in the Consul General's room when he was grabbed by the squad.

The squad leader, Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, started cutting Khashoggi's body while he was alive. He put on a headphone and listened to music even as he chopped the body into pieces and asked his men to do the same, the Middle East Eye had reported. citing Turkish sources.

Khashoggi, 59, was the most powerful journalist in Saudi Arabia at one point of time and was very close to the ruling family. However the ascendancy of Prince Mohammed bin Salman changed the equations and he ended up being a critic of the establishment. Khashoggi went into exile last year, fearing arrest in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia had initially denied all accusations and insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived. However, as international pressure increased, Riyadh admitted that the killing was an error, carried out by rogue elements. Saudi Arabia since then announced a full investigation into the killing.