Turkey's Erdogan says awaiting probe results over missing Saudi journalist

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

Tawakkol Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2011 holds a picture of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi as she speaks to journalists near the Saudi Arabia consulate, in Istanbul, Turkey. "We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate", a Turkish official told Reuters on Saturday.

A senior Turkish police source told Middle East Eye that police believed that Khashoggi was "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces" inside the consulate after visiting the building on October 2. It said a Saudi team was in Turkey to investigate the disappearance. He has not been heard of since.

"I am following the (issue) and we will inform the world whatever the outcome" of the official probe, the president told reporters in Ankara.

Turkish officials have said they believe that he was killed by Saudi agents inside the consulate.

Turkish officials said Khashoggi never left the consulate, but during an interview with Bloomberg Wednesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he entered and left "after a few minutes or one hour".

"Consulate officials can't save themselves by saying, 'He left here.' And relevant authorities are obligated to provide proof of this claim", Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary.

The head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, Turan Kislakci, told the New York Times that Turkish police officers providing security for the consulate had checked their security cameras and did not see the journalist leave on foot.

"His disappearance could exacerbate tense relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which worsened previous year after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Gulf States" isolation of Qatar "inhumane and against Islamic values.' In the spring, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described Turkey as one part of a 'triangle of evil' with Iran and Islamic extremists".

Khashoggi's fiancee could not immediately be contacted but she said in a Tweet that there had been no official confirmation of the Turkish sources' statements.

The entrance to the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.

Riyadh vehemently denies the claim and says Khashoggi left the consulate. He had been living since previous year in the U.S.in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman.

Turkish media said 15 Saudis aboard two planes landed in Istanbul and were inside the consulate the day Khashoggi went missing. That's confirmed. We asked them [the Saudis], they say 'he left, ' but there is no such thing on the camera footage.

A European Commission spokesperson said in a statement that Brussels was "closely" following the case, adding it was "awaiting clarifications from the Saudi authorities on the fate of Mr Khashoggi".

Khashoggi had sought assurances about his safety from friends in the United States before visiting the consulate and had asked Cengiz to contact Turkish authorities if he failed to emerge.

Khashoggi is a well-known critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also widely known as MBS) and his reform program, as well as the kingdom's policies toward Qatar and the war in Yemen.

He said The Post was committed to discovering the truth and that if the investigation showed any Saudi government involvement, the news organisation would view it as a flagrant attack on one of its journalists.

Ankara's search request was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time Sunday over the Khashoggi's disappearance.

"The ambassador was told that we expected full cooperation during the investigation", the source said.

Here's Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, yukking it up back in March with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose government appears to have just murdered a Washington Post columnist.

Other reports by iNewsToday