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11 October 2018, 04:59 | Darnell Patrick
Turkey demands convincing explanation on 'missing' Saudi journalist
Turkey's Sabah newspaper reports that it has identified 15 members of an intelligence team it says was involved in the Saudi's disappearance. "Hopefully that will sort itself out".
The Washington Post published a surveillance image Tuesday showing its missing Saudi contributor walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul a week ago, just before he disappeared.
The fiancee of a Saudi journalist who is feared to have been assassinated inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul is pleading with President Donald Trump to help uncover the truth about his fate. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying, 'He has left, '" Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit.
Khashoggi entered the consulate last Tuesday and has not been heard of or seen since, according to his fiancée and friends. "Such an assassination within the grounds of the Consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution", said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Mideast research director.
Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, vanished October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It said they checked into two hotels in Istanbul on October 2 and left later that day.
Reports of Jamal Khashoggi being detained and killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are "absolutely false and baseless", said Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said in a statement.
U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he and other lawmakers "agree if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government, it would be devastating to the U.S. -Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid - economically and otherwise".
Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search its Istanbul consulate
The 15-man squad arrived on two private planes at Istanbul's Ataturk airport last Tuesday, returning that same day to Riyadh. On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the United States "had no advance knowledge" of such a plan.
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Last week, Crown Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg News that his government was "very keen to know what happened to him", and that Mr Khashoggi had left "after a few minutes or one hour".
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "God willing, we will not be faced with the situation we do not desire" when asked by journalists about Khashoggi. He had no warrant for his arrest in Saudi Arabia and didn't think that the tensions between himself and the Saudi royal family were at a unsafe level. Fearing for his life, Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the a year ago.
Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Saudi authorities reached out and said they're open to cooperating with a Turkish investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance.
Over the past year Khashoggi used his platform as a Washington Post columnist to criticize the policies of Saudi Arabia's powerful young crown prince, from the war in Yemen to the arrest of women's rights advocates.
Trump, who took his first overseas trip as USA president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said while he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi.
Amid growing calls within the USA and around the world for Saudi Arabia to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, Republican Sen.
Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, said the news reports will increase pressure on the United States government to act.
Erdogan pointed out that "security and intelligence officials are investigating Khashoggi's case, and the prosecution is checking up the records of the arrival and departure of Saudi citizens from Istanbul airport".
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