Turkey to search consulate over missing Saudi journalist

US needs answers on Saudi journalist Washington Post

Click for full image

The foreign secretary summoned the Saudi ambassador and demanded "urgent answers" about the disappearance of the country's best-known journalist after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday invited Turkish experts and relevant officials to visit its Istanbul Consulate to look into last week's disappearance of a Saudi journalist. Riyadh claims he exited through a back door, the Turks are dubious and the search is on for clues. He had been living since previous year in the United States, in self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has shown little tolerance for criticism. "But it seems clear that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman feels emboldened by the Trump administration's unquestioning support".

Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have denied the allegations, insisting that Khashoggi left the consulate freely shortly after he arrived.

She expresses confidence in the Turkish government officials investigating and adds, "At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance".

Ties between Ankara and Riyadh are at a low point due to Turkey's support for Qatar in its year-long dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. The ministry did not say when the premises would be searched.

Demirören News Agency reported on October 9 that one of the planes was searched by Turkish authorities before leaving Turkey for Dubai.

Now a source close to the Saudi royals has told DailyMail.com that an alternative version of events is being discussed inside high levels of the Saudi government.

That hope diminished over the weekend, when several news outlets reported the possibility that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered at the consulate so that his body could be smuggled out of the building without detection.

Saudi officials meant to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reported the source as saying, but it was unclear what they meant to do with him - and whether the US ever warned Khashoggi of the threat he faced.

"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul". Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to comment publicly.

"The consulate building will be searched in the framework of the investigation", Aksoy said in a written statement.

They had arrived from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, early that morning and checked in at two global hotels in Istanbul before driving to the consulate in the leafy Levent neighborhood, said two people with knowledge of the investigation.

Saudi Arabia is a longtime ally of the United States, but on Monday senior USA officials expressed alarm over Khashoggi's disappearance.

But even hard-nosed pragmatists, like Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East adviser to Republican and Democratic administrations, have urged the White House to denounce the prince should it be established that Khashoggi has, in fact, been murdered.

The Trump administration had been largely silent on the matter until Monday, when President Donald Trump said he was "concerned" about it in response to a question from a reporter.

The U.N. human rights office said Khashoggi's disappearance is "of serious concern".

Journalists and activists gathered outside the Saudi consulate on Monday demanding information on Khashoggi's fate.

Altre Notizie