Turkey asks permission to search Saudi consulate for missing journalist

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 11, 2018

Saudi Arabia has agreed to let Turkish authorities search the kingdom's Istanbul consulate after prominent journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing last week, the Turkish foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the Vienna Convention allowed for consulates to be searched by the authorities of the host country with the consent of the mission chief. "We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate", one of the two Turkish officials told Reuters. Its passengers checked into two hotels near the consulate and booked rooms until October 5.

Turkish authorities say Mr Khashoggi was killed.

Saudi writer Mr Khashoggi, a high-profile critic of the regime, disappeared a week ago after entering the consulate to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

He has not been heard of since.

One of the officials describes a member of the Saudi team as an "autopsy expert" amid earlier allegations that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered.

The United States is seeking more information, a State Department official said. "We are fully aligned with the United States on this, with the U.S. position on this", she said.

United Nations human rights experts called Tuesday for an investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

While Turkish officials will soon be able to enter the diplomatic compound, there is concern that potential evidence may be long gone. The state-run Anadola news agency published the names and birth dates of all 15 Saudis.

TRT World's Ben Tornquist reports.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last week that Riyadh was "ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", because it had "nothing to hide" about the missing journalist. He told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.

Saudi Arabia has said the accusations are "baseless" and claims Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived.

"We are aware of and concerned by these reports".

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".

The U.S.is concerned about Khashoggi's whereabouts, Nauert said, and would like to see the Saudi government conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into what happened to him. "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.

A former Saudi government advisor, Khashoggi has been openly critical of Prince Mohammed, accusing him of introducing a new era of "fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming". "I can speak when so many cannot".

The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is also the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, denies these claims.

Turkish police were also looking into the possibility that Khashoggi was kidnapped, local media reported.

"Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia past year as the government began its recent crackdown on dissent, arresting clerics, intellectuals, activists and businessmen". Rand Paul said he'd try to push through a Senate vote stalling USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Opening cupboards, filing cabinets and wooden panels covering air conditioning units, Otaibi walked through the six floors of the building including a basement prayer room, offices, visa counters, kitchens and toilets as well as storage and security rooms.

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