Erdogan tells Saudi officials to prove missing journalist left consulate in Turkey

Lamar Ellis
October 9, 2018

Salman said that Khashoggi, who was once close to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, had "always been honest".

Ankara announced on Saturday it had opened an official probe into his disappearance.

"God willing we will not be faced with a situation we do not want", the president told reporters in Ankara, adding: "I still am hopeful".

He said police were examining CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and Istanbul airport.

The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing two sources familiar with the investigation, that the Kingdom allegedly sent a 15-member team to carry out the "preplanned murder".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that he was personally following the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared last week, and added that he still hoped for a positive outcome to the matter.

Pressed on how he would regard Trump's humiliating rhetoric against Saudi Arabia, the crown prince described the controversial remarks as a "bad issue" offset by "99 percent of good things".

"If this is true - that the Saudis lured a US resident into their consulate and murdered him - it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia", Murphy wrote on Twitter.

A Turkish official told Reuters that police believe the dissident was killed in a "premeditated" murder, before his body was moved out of the consulate.

Saudi officials have denied allegations that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, calling them "baseless".

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The request was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, NTV broadcaster said.

Ottawa - which had a diplomatic feud with Riyadh earlier this year over the kingdom's human rights record - said the allegation that Khashoggi had been killed were "worrying".

He also alleged the Saudi government had pressured the publisher of Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat to cancel his column and said he was told to stop tweeting to his 1.8 million followers after he cautioned against the country's "overly enthusiastic embrace" of then US President-elect Donald Trump in late 2016.

"We are aware of and concerned by these reports". The Saudi media ran Mattis's statement and quoted him with great enthusiasm but selectively omitted the portion that stated American support was "not unconditional" and that he urged Saudi authorities to "do everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life".

On Tuesday, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.

He had previously served as an advisor to the Saudi government, but Khashoggi, who turns 60 on 13 October, has been a vociferous critic of Prince Mohammed's policies in both the Arab and Western press.

"I would like to confirm that.Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him", consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi said in an interview. Reuters reports Otaibi walked the reporters through all six floors of the building, including storage and security rooms. Khashoggi had left his mobile phone with her, and told her to call Turkish authorities if he did not return.

It was not immediately clear why the cameras did not work.

Fusun Arsava, an worldwide law professor at Ankara's Atilim University, told Al-Monitor that even if reports of Khashoggi's murder were true, that would be extremely hard for the Turkish authorities to prove.

"If Khashoggi was indeed murdered inside a diplomatic facility, it is an act of terror that echoes Russian and Chinese tactics of extraterritorial, extrajudicial attacks on dissidents, meant to intimidate any who would speak out against the Saudi government, no matter where they may be, and giving the lie to official narratives of "reform" in Saudi Arabia", said Summer Lopez, PEN America's senior director of free expression programs.

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