Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey requests Saudi consulate search

11 October, 2018, 14:42 | Author: Wade Massey
  • London, Paris, Berlin Demand 'Credible' Khashoggi Probe

Turkish authorities are to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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

Turkey's foreign ministry said Saudi Arabia will allow Turkish investigators into its Istanbul consulate to probe the disappearance and alleged murder of Khashoggi.

He also questioned assertions by Saudi authorities that the consulate does not have footage of Khashoggi leaving the building as the mission's security cameras only provide live footage and do not record images.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate, allegations rejected by Saudi Arabia, which says he left the premises.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing one week ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Hatice Cengiz told the Washington Post that she left him at the entrance around 1 p.m. that day and hasn't seen him since. "Such an assassination within the grounds of the Consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution", said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Mideast research director. As a precaution, he told Cengiz that she should contact an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.

Mr Khashoggi, a USA resident and critic of the Saudi monarchy, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October and has not been seen since.

Khashoggi entered the consulate last Tuesday and has not been heard of or seen since, according to his fiancée and friends. The Post, which first published the photo, said "a person close to the investigation" shared the image with them, without elaborating.

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Yemeni Nobel Prize victor Tawakkol Karman, centre, participates at a demonstration for Khashoggi that was organized by the Turkish-Arabic Media Association in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Friday. But he tempered his comments, saying: "Hopefully that will sort itself out. Consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying 'he has left, '" Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit.

Recall that in June of previous year, several Arab states - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) - broke relations with Qatar and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on Qatar.

Less than a day after saying he was "concerned" for Khashoggi, Trump said he would talk with Saudi officials "at some point". The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency, quoting an unnamed official at the Istanbul consulate, denied the reports of Khashoggi's murder. So far, senior US administration officials have had little to say publicly on the matter, which is concerning.

US and Saudi officials have yet to comment on that report.

As a contributor to the Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

Mr Hunt's intervention followed the publication of a CCTV image apparently showing Mr Khashoggi walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, just before he went missing.

"Right now nobody knows anything about it".

The US State Department said it did not know what happened to Khashoggi and whether he was alive or not.

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