Pompeo meets Erdogan after talks with Saudis on missing journalist

Marco Green
October 17, 2018

Pompeo said he would meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital Ankara, two weeks after Khashoggi vanished when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect documents he needed for his planned marriage.

US President Donald Trump earlier Monday said he had spoken with Saudi Arabia's King Salman who strongly denied the kingdom's involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Officials in Turkey believe Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate, but Trump appeared to cast doubt on the explanation.

However, unconfirmed reports in the U.S. media suggest Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong and that the original intention had been to abduct him.

Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that would admit Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong, CNN and the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he went to receive papers he needed to remarry.

Saudi Arabia's top diplomat in Istanbul has reportedly left Turkey, hours after it was announced his official residence would be searched in connection with a journalist's disappearance.

Turkish officials spoke to several media outlets on Tuesday, claiming to have audio tapes that capture Saudi officials taking part in the gruesome torture-murder of Khashoggi.

"We all need to know what it was, how it happened and who was responsible and where the evidence leads".

Trump quoted the King on Monday as saying that neither he nor his son, the crown prince, had any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.

Pompeo will travel straight to Turkey to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday, Ankara said in a statement.

Pompeo's faith in the Saudi authorities to cooperate with the investigation into Khashoggi's fate was echoed by Trump, who said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday night that Riyadh had again denied it had anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance and remained "innocent until proven guilty".

Turkish police believe he was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi officials, but Riyadh has dismissed the claim as "baseless". And I think that's a reasonable thing to do, to give them that opportunity, and then we'll all get to judge.

USA lawmakers have been demanding scrapping of the United States dollars 110 billion mega defence deal with Riyadh, whereas heads of several companies, CEOs, newspapers have announced not to attend an upcoming finance conference in Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi wasn't interrogated, the sources said - instead he was beaten up, drugged and killed in the office of the Saudi consul general Mohammad al-Otaibi.

"It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers - who knows", Mr. Trump told reporters. "We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned".

She said under global law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing were "very serious crimes" and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible.

No details have been released, but afterwards Mr Cavusoglu said they are hoping investigators will be able to gain access to the residence later on Wednesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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