Jeremy Hunt warns Saudi Arabia over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Elias Hubbard
October 11, 2018

A Turkish security source had previously told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, had arrived in Istanbul in two planes and entered the consulate on the same day Khashoggi was there, and later left the country. A US official said that Turkish investigators believe Khashoggi was probably dismembered and his body removed in boxes and flown out of the country.

Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Saudi authorities reached out and said they're open to cooperating with a Turkish investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance.

But the ministry did not provide a timeline when that might happen.

Relations between Ankara and Riyadh have been strained over Turkey's support for Qatar in its yearlong dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's sympathetic attitude toward the Muslim Brotherhood, which Riyadh considers to be a terrorist organization.

Erdogan told reporters on a flight back from Hungary that Turkey is anxious about the Khashoggi's disappearance.

Self-exiled Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate and apparently never walking back out.

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.

A Turkish government source has said that police believe the journalist was murdered, a claim denied by Riyadh. He has not been seen since entering the building on 2 October.

"We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible", Erdogan said from Budapest.

Erdogan pointed out that "security and intelligence officials are investigating Khashoggi's case, and the prosecution is checking up the records of the arrival and departure of Saudi citizens from Istanbul airport".

"I don't like hearing about it, and hopefully that will sort itself out".

0Khashoggi had sought to become a United States citizen after living in self-imposed exile since a year ago, fearing repercussions for his criticism of the prince, Cengiz wrote. She said he had been "somewhat concerned that he could be in danger" when making his first visit September 28 but had been encouraged by a "positive" first meeting with consular staff.

Recall that in June of past 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.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia faced increased scrutiny over Khashoggi's disappearance from officials in America, the kingdom's longtime ally. Officials in Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Khashoggi, who was living in self-imposed exile in the United States and working for the Washington Post before his disappearance, was a frequent critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he described as a "brash and abrasive young innovator" who was "acting like Putin". He is an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia who has dared to defy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler.

His disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

"Right now nobody knows anything about it".

Mr Trump told reporters he had talked to the Saudi authorities "at the highest level" about Mr Khashoggi.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime critic of the Saudi government, said he'll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Two Turkish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to the AP because the investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance was still ongoing, confirmed the authenticity of the images in the Turkish media.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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