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Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

10 October 2018
Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

Turkey sought permission Monday from Saudi Arabia to search Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, looking for clues to the disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist whom Turkish officials have concluded was murdered inside the diplomatic outpost.

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.

Turkish security forces searched a private Saudi plane on the day that journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, but did not find any trace of him, the Turkish Anadolu agency reported on Tuesday.

A Turkish police source told the Middle East Eye that officials believe Khashoggi was "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces" while inside the consulate.

According to diplomatic sources, a diplomatic note was sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry inviting Turkish officials to visit the consulate.

'I am concerned about that, ' Trump said.

Even President Donald 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 he had concerns.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his own statement said that "we have seen conflicting reports on the safety and whereabouts" of Khashoggi.

Turkey on Monday said it expects "full cooperation" from Saudi authorities to locate the missing journalist.

Demirören News Agency reported on October 9 that one of the planes was searched by Turkish authorities before leaving Turkey for Dubai. "I don't know who is behind these claims, or their intentions", he said, "nor do I care frankly".

"His is a voice of reasoned criticism and wise comment that the Saudi crown prince should listen to", wrote Law, who said he had known Khashoggi for 16 years. Rumors from within the Turkish government have portrayed these individuals as a squad dispatched from Saudi Arabia to abduct or murder Khashoggi.

He visited the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation to finalize his divorce; his Turkish fiancée waited for him outside the building, and reported him missing after he didn't return.

Amnesty International has urged Riyadh to to "immediately disclose the evidence supporting their claim" that Khashoggi left the consulate, saying that "otherwise their claims are utterly baseless".

Khashoggi had gone to the embassy to collect divorce papers relating to his previous marriage, leaving his fiancee with his phone on the street outside.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Riyadh must provide "honest answers" about the journalist.

"Bad stories", said Mr Trump. Khashoggi is just the kind of Saudi from whom MBS needs to hear.

A member of the Saudi elite, he had remained in exile in the United States for much of the past year, from where he wrote columns for The Washington Post critiquing aspects of the Kingdom's reform programme.

United Nations spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the "apparent enforced disappearance" of Khashoggi is a matter of "deep concern" to the human rights office in a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

Saudis are, perhaps, trying to ideal their excellence in furtherance of their plans and the world must expect more covert operations by Saudi Arabia in a not-so-distant future with Iran as its primary target.

Previously Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg that Riyadh would be ready to welcome Turkish officials to search the premises.