Turkey says Saudi Arabia allows consulate search over missing journalist

Elias Hubbard
October 9, 2018

Reports of Jamal Khashoggi being detained and killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are "absolutely false and baseless", said Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the USA said in a statement.

President Donald Trump, who took his first overseas trip as USA president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said he had concerns. "If he left, you must prove this, you will prove this, even if it's with visuals".

The newspaper said "a person close to the investigation" had shared the image with them.

No evidence has been presented.

Members of Congress, both Republican and Democrats, have also called for answers regarding Khashoggi's disappearance. "We never experienced this", he said.

Even President Donald Trump, who took his first overseas trip as U.S. president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said he had concerns.

I don't like hearing about it.

He added that he was hopeful for a positive outcome. "Right now, nobody knows anything about it".

Tawakkol Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2011 holds a picture of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi as she speaks to journalists near the Saudi Arabia consulate, in Istanbul, Turkey.

When was he last seen?

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Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who had lived in Washington for the past year, has not been heard from or seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday, his fiancée and friends have said.

The New York Times account says its sources report the Saudis "had arrived to silence Mr. Khashoggi, but that it was not clear if the plan had been to bring him back to Saudi Arabia alive, and something went wrong, or if the intention was to kill him there".

She says two plainclothes Turkish police officers have been following her around for protection and that authorities stopped by yesterday to interview her a second time and take some of Khashoggi's clothes and belongings for DNA sampling.

The allegations of what the Saudi authorities may have done to one of their most prominent critics are - if proven - horrific. The Saudi consulate called the claim "baseless" on Twitter. But Mr Khashoggi thought he had the situation under control.

Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion.

What have the Saudis said?

Khashoggi was one journalist who chose to "report the reality".

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

"If the crown prince does not respond with full cooperation, Congress must, as a first step, suspend all military cooperation with the kingdom", the Post said.

Khashoggi previously had close links with the Saudi royal family, including having served as a media aide to Prince Turki al-Faisal, when the latter was director general of the Saudi intelligence agency. It could cause the US and Europe to reevaluate their relationships with Saudi Arabia, and with Turkish officials so enraged by this, it could trigger a more serious response. "I don't think I will be able to go home", he said, when asked whether he thought he could return to Saudi Arabia.

There he wrote opinion pieces for the Washington Post and continued to appear on Arab and Western TV channels.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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