Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

On Sunday Turkish officials said investigators had "concrete proof" of the killing which, they said, was carried out by a 15-person Saudi team who arrived in the country last week.

President Donald Trump, who took his first overseas trip as US president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said he had concerns. "If media reports prove correct we will treat the incident seriously - friendships depend on shared values", he added.

Allegations have since swirled over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, who is a well-known critic of the Saudi government and lives in exile.

Mr Erdogan was more circumspect, saying on Sunday he remained "positive" and would await the results of an investigation as Turkish authorities continue to look at camera footage and airport arrivals and departures.

But Khashoggi's fiancée is reportedly holding out hope, tweeting in Arabic late Saturday and translated by the Middle East Eye, "Jamal was not killed, and I don't believe that he was killed", the fiancée said.

Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker reports from Istanbul.

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Khashoggi is a critic of the Saudi regime.

Khashoggi, a United States resident for about the past year, has written articles critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively", and that the Vienna Convention allowed for consulates to be searched by the authorities of the host country with the consent of the mission chief.

Kislakci also alleged, based on conversations with officials he did not name, that Khashoggi was made to "faint", then was dismembered. "It has been conveyed to him that we expect full coordination in the investigation process", the official said. "We never experienced this", he said.

Over the past year, he has written columns for newspapers including the Washington Post criticizing Saudi policies toward Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen and a crackdown on dissent which has seen dozens of people detained.

Two months later, writing about the detentions of scores of Saudi royals, senior officials and businessmen accused of corruption, he said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dispensed "selective justice" and said there was "complete intolerance for even mild criticism" of the crown prince. She accused Saudi Arabia of "state terrorism" and called on the worldwide community to take action against the kingdom. Saudi officials insist he left the building alive but have provided no proof that he did so.

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Saudi Arabia's consul-general in Istanbul Mohammad Al Otaibi gave reporters a tour of the consulate to prove that the premises are clear and that the talk of kidnapping "is baseless".

"What we do care about is Jamal's well-being and revealing the truth about what occurred", the ambassador said.

But it was not immediately clear whether Turkish officials were granted access to the consulate after Monday's request.

State Department senior officials have spoken with Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about the matter, the top USA diplomat added.

What's next: Erdogan's statement today suggests he is not keen on escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia - at least for now - and that Ankara is inclined to await the official outcome of the probe into Khashoggi's disappearance before making a decisive diplomatic move.

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But the disappearance of the journalist , however prominent, may not affect President Trump's bet on the Saudi heir to the throne. The Washington Post has published an image it described as the last surveillance photograph of its missing Saudi contributor.


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