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Saudis to Turkey: Search our consulate for missing WaPo columnist, dissenter

Saudis to Turkey: Search our consulate for missing WaPo columnist, dissenter”

The Turkish private NTV television said Ankara asked for permission for its investigators to search the consulate building, but a Foreign Ministry official would not confirm the report.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency early Sunday morning carried a statement from the Istanbul Consulate that "strongly denounced these baseless allegations", and expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the Saudis a little harder to sort it out themselves, calling for "a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation".

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Riyadh must provide "honest answers" to the claims that he was murdered.

It is, perhaps, possible that MBS is labouring under a sense of extreme superiority thanks to his connections with the US. "It is (the duty) of the consulate officials", Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary. He left the country previous year for the United States fearing retribution from the kingdom which has recently witnessed widespread crackdown on dissent.

"State Department senior officials have spoken with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about this matter", he said.

Khashoggi was one journalist who chose to "report the reality". On the eve of his planned marriage to a Turkish woman, he entered the consulate on 2 October and has not been seen since.

While the Turkish authorities seem confident in their assessment that Khashoggi was indeed murdered, the USA administration, while exercising abundant discretion and caution, has said that they are monitoring the developments in Turkey and are yet, not in a position to confirm the death.

The surveillance image released by the Post bore a date and time stamp, as well as a Turkish caption bearing Khashoggi's name and that he was arriving to the consulate.

Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar previous year in a show of support after its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

God willing, we will not be faced with an undesirable situation we do not want.

Erdogan told reporters on Sunday that authorities were examining camera footage and airport records as part of their investigation.

Yemeni Nobel Prize victor Tawakkol Karman, centre, participates at a demonstration for Khashoggi that was organized by the Turkish-Arabic Media Association in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Friday. According to Turkish authorities, it is their strong assessment that not only was the murder premeditated, Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents and his "dead body" was later mysteriously removed.

Government sources said police believe the journalist was killed inside the consulate.

Khashoggi's fiance Hatice Cengiz believes that Khashoggi was not killed.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has been documenting the increasingly harsh treatment of journalists in Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International's Middle East research director, Lynn Maalouf, said if the reports of Khashoggi's killing are true, it "would be an abysmal new low" and "amount to an extrajudicial execution". "This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven overseas".



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