Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US increases pressure on Saudis over writer’s disappearance

US increases pressure on Saudis over writer’s disappearance

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States would be "punishing" itself by halting military sales to Saudi Arabia even if it is proven that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the country's consulate in Istanbul.

Trump vowed that Saudi Arabia will be severely punished if the United States determined that Saudi agents killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, calling the journalist's suspected murder "really awful and disgusting".

Turkey said Tuesday that it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as it investigates why journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished there a week ago, an extraordinary inquiry into a diplomatic post over Turkish officials' fears that the writer had been killed inside the building.

The journalist, who has written critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after he walked into the consulate on October 2.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, was also being discussed by U.S. and European diplomats, the BBC said.

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 not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi.

A contributor to The Washington Post, Khashoggi has not been seen since Tuesday last week, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to collect papers for his upcoming wedding.

A detailed Washington Post report cites flight data and security camera footage surrounding the incident.

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However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not yet cooperated with Turkey on the search for Khashoggi.

Al Jazeera also wondered why no official statements were issued by Saudi Arabia on the "Kingdom's keenness to protect the interest of its citizens". Saudi Arabia, however, insists that Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived.

A government source has told me President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sounding more cautious than the leaks, because if he were to echo the allegations that Mr Khashoggi was murdered, it would mean kicking out the Saudi ambassador and consul general by now.

Cengiz and Khashoggi met at a conference in May, where they soon "became emotionally involved and made a decision to marry", she said.

"When we arrived at the consulate, he went right in", she said.

Elshayyal said, "I have learned earlier that, among the evidence with the investigation is testimony from inside the consulate at the time that Jamal [Khashoggi] was there, which includes sounds of loud screams and shouting, as well as calls for help and the sound of a struggle and then sudden silence".

On his first worldwide trip as president, Mr. Trump visited Saudi Arabia and announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales.

Turkey can not remain silent over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday, adding Turkey is investigating all aspects of the case. Local press reports suggested he was abducted and taken to Saudi Arabia, though this has never been confirmed.

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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 Tuesday he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi, "but I will be at some point", without elaborating.

The authorities in Istanbul believe he was murdered there by Saudi agents.

"Jamal's disappearance is a signpost of a much broader, extraordinarily grave, human rights catastrophe unfolding in Saudi Arabia today", Dyke told MEE.

He added that Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, has been in contact with his administration and may come to the White House. A video caption says seven other men checked in at another nearby hotel at different times.

It shows purported Saudi intelligence officers entering and leaving Turkey via Istanbul airport. "I don't trust him for a minute'".

"I think that would be hurting us", Trump said.

The newspaper also alleged Saudi officials tried to delete the recordings first by incorrectly guessing Khashoggi's password on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger.

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