Saudi Arabia denies journalist killed at consulate in Turkey

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

Turkish authorities have concrete information on the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for six days, a deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling AK Party said on Sunday.

Human rights activists hold pictures of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Oct. 9, 2018.

But some suspect the investigation will not yield substantial answers.

"I assure you that the reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Consulate in Istanbul or that the Kingdom's authorities have detained him or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless", it notes. Writing as a columnist for the Washington Post, articles took aim at the country's conduct in Yemen's civil war, and the crushing of political dissent at home by heir apparent Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Khashoggi had relocated to the USA on October 2, 2017, fearing trouble (or even harm) from Saudi authorities - at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) - for having remained a strong voice of dissent, always vociferous in castigating the Saudi government for its anti-people policies, severe Wahhabism, persecution of Houthis in Yemen, economic blockade of Qatar and myriad other problems.

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, said he would speak with Saudi officials at some point about the situation.

In his statement to CNN, the Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said Saudi investigators are working with Turkish authorities to determine what happened to Kashoggi.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia faced increased scrutiny over Khashoggi's disappearance from officials in America, the kingdom's longtime ally. She tweeted, "Jamal was not killed and I do not believe he was killed".

Saudi Arabia has denied the accusations, saying it is "working to search for him".

He also complained that the Saudi consulate and authorities had ignored Turkish contacts following the disappearance of Khashoggi.

The door Mr Khashoggi walked through appeared to be the main entrance of the consulate in Istanbul's 4th Levent neighbourhood. He told broadcaster CNN Turk that Khashoggi had not left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which he had entered on Tuesday to obtain documents for a forthcoming marriage, in "normal ways".

Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on Khashoggi's disappearance, saying on Twitter, "Deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

Officials in Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Mere words are not enough evidence" to dispute the allegations that Khashoggi had been killed, Erdogan said on Monday.

"There are elements of the Al Saud family that are convinced that the prince is reckless and compromising the security of the country".

According to pro-government daily Sabah, the team arrived in Istanbul on two private planes, one which landed after 0300H (0000 GMT) on Tuesday while the second plane landed around 1700H (1400 GMT) after Khashoggi entered the consulate.

He is a high-profile critic of the crown prince.

Though wary of each other, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have traditionally tried to avoid public spats.

Khashoggi has been a vociferous critic of Prince Mohammed's policies in both the Arab and Western press.

Recall that in June of a year ago, several Arab states - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) - broke relations with Qatar and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on Qatar.

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