Turkey says authorities have concrete information on missing Saudi journalist

Pauline Gross
October 10, 2018

Turkish police have concluded that prominent Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi mission in Istanbul after going missing Tuesday, October 2 according to an unnamed government official.

Turkey's foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador over Mr Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday denied reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing earlier this week, was killed at the country's consulate in Istanbul, as reported by several worldwide media.

Turkish officials told Reuters at the weekend they believed he had been killed inside the Saudi consulate.

"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", he said. That's what we are becoming in Saudi Arabia and we are not used to that.

The Washington Post said it would be a "monstrous and unfathomable act" if he had been killed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called on Saudi Arabia to investigate the unusual disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose case has sparked worldwide outcry over the extent of the kingdom's crackdown on dissent.

The country has demanded Saudi Arabia prove he left, while not providing evidence to support the claim he was killed inside.

"It's very, very sad for us that this happened in our country", the Turkish president said. "We are not in a position to confirm these reports, but we are following them closely", the official said.

Trump, speaking at the White House, said he did not know details about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Turkey reportedly says it is scouring road cameras for a black van believed to have carried Mr Khashoggi's body from the consulate, while the Washington Post released CCTV footage of the journalist entering the building on Monday.

Photo of journalist Khashoggi entering consulate released by Washington Post
Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when he fled Saudi Arabia for fear of arrest. The episode has put the United Kingdom in an awkward diplomatic position since it is close both to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

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Last week, Jamal Khashoggi went missing while visiting the Saudi Arabian consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia is also annoyed by Ankara's rapprochement with the kingdom's arch-rival, Iran.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, had gone there on an administrative errand but "did not come back out" of the building, police had told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

"We agree that if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid - economically and otherwise", Graham tweeted.

Stating that he does not call himself "an opposition" to Saudi Arabia, he said: "I always say I'm just a writer, I want a free environment to write and speak my mind".

Khashoggi is a former advisor to Saudi intelligence and was highly critical of the kingdom's war in Yemen as well as a recent crackdown on dissent.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, has written articles over the past year critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"As if the Saudi authorities were asleep and there was a unusual silence at a time when the news of Khashoggi's disappearance was spread in the world", he noted.

"If the reports of Jamal's murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act", the Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement.

Despite that, we have seen over the last few days various malicious leaks and grim rumors flying around about Jamal's whereabouts and fate. If the Sauds conducted a hit on Khashoggi, they'll have to hope that no one talks and their allies eventually forget about it. He left the country a year ago for the United States fearing retribution from the kingdom which has recently witnessed widespread crackdown on dissent.

Other reports by GizPress

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