Saudis to Turkey: Search our consulate for missing WaPo columnist, dissenter

Posted October 10, 2018

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has been missing since he entered the consulate on October 2.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked Riyadh to prove its claim that Khashoggi had left the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, while Washington urged Saudi Arabia to support an investigation into his disappearance. The Post said "a person close to the investigation" shared the image with them. Rumors from within the Turkish government have portrayed these individuals as a squad dispatched from Saudi Arabia to abduct or murder Khashoggi.

According to Ms Cengiz, Mr Khashoggi had visited the consulate to receive an official document for his marriage.

A surveillance photo published Tuesday showed the 59-year-old Khashoggi walking in the main entrance on October 2. Although Khashoggi first entered the Saudi consulate a week ago, the Trump administration had remained relatively silent until Monday when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Riyadh to "support a thorough investigation" into Khashoggi's disappearance and be "transparent about the results".

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, has written articles over the past year critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "We are aware of the latest reports and are working urgently to establish the facts, including with the government of Saudi Arabia".

Saudi Arabia has called the allegations that it killed 59-year-old Khashoggi "baseless" but has offered no evidence over the past seven days to show that he ever left the building.

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It is, perhaps, possible that MBS is labouring under a sense of extreme superiority thanks to his connections with the US.

The growing dispute over his fate threatens relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey and raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in his columns.

In March, the Senate narrowly failed in a bid to restrict U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen over rights concerns.

Khashoggi is a critic of the Saudi regime. He added that Saudi Arabia's agreeing to Turkey's request to search the consulate would "at best reduce tensions between the two countries".

Though Khashoggi gave his Saudi phone to his fiancée before entering the embassy in Istanbul, he walked in to the building with his T-Mobile US cell phone, which he had used to contact his confidential sources.

During the meeting, Ryan expressed The Post's "grave concern" about Khashoggi's disappearance, and said the news organization would view any Saudi government involvement in his disappearance as a flagrant attack on one of its journalists. "I know what everybody else knows - nothing", Trump said. Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar previous year in a show of support after its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha. Khashoggi was driven from there to Riyadh, and was held there, the source said.

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The newspaper also claimed that Turkish employees at the residence were "hastily" told to take a holiday on the day Khashoggi went missing. Banners read, "We will not leave without Jamal Khashoggi". And hopefully that will sort itself out.

"It's very, very sad for us that this happened in our country", the Turkish president said.

Aktay went on to say Turkish authorities believe a group of 15 Saudi nationals were "most certainly involved" in the journalist's disappearance.

Mr Khashoggi was last seen visiting the consulate last week and Turkey says he may have been murdered there. "Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority", he said. "Don't you have cameras and other things?"

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Riyadh must provide "honest answers" about the journalist. But if by some miracle Khashoggi is still alive in a Saudi prison somewhere, revealing that he spoke anonymously to a foreign reporter could have enraged his captors and jeopardized his life.

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