A Saudi Arabian team has arrived in Turkey as calls grow for clarity on the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkey has accused Saudi Arabia of having the dissident writer killed.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday for talks in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of influential dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey's state news agency Anadolu reported.
It was not clear whether the Saudi team was part of a joint Turkish-Saudi working group that Turkey has approved to look at the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
In a statement welcoming Turkey's approval of the "joint action team," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the kingdom was keen "to sustain the security and safety of its citizenry, wherever they might happen to be."
Khashoggi, who has been critical of Saudi leaders, has not been seen since he visited the Saudi consulate in early October to get documents he needed to get married.
Some Turkish authorities have alleged that he was killed on the premises by a hit squad, with a Washington Post report on Thursday saying that the Turkish government had proof in the form of audio and video recordings. Saudi Arabia has called the allegations "baseless," saying Khashoggi had left the consulate and vanished, despite the fact that his fiancee was waiting outside.
Several world leaders have called on Saudi Arabia to clarify what has happened to Khashoggi, who was a columnist for the Post, among other things.
Germany said on Friday it was "very concerned" about the writer and has called on Saudi Arabia to "participate fully" in clearing up reports of his possible murder.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that "the suspicion that is being talked about here is appalling, and so this disappearance must be cleared up as quickly and thoroughly as possible."
Vehement government critic
French President Emmanuel Macron called Khashoggi's disappearance "very serious."
"I expect that complete clarity and truth be established," Macron told France24 television and RFI radio, adding that he would be speaking to the leaders of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the coming days.
However, Macron said he would wait for facts to emerge and to be "analyzed and verified by our services" before reviewing France's relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest customers for the French arms industry.
Khashoggi, 59, had been residing in the US since last year "over concerns that he would be arrested or prevented from traveling" by Saudi Arabia, according to the Washington Post. He has sharply criticized Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, while championing bold reforms in the kingdom, has also presided over the arrest of several leading rights activists.
tj/ng (AP, dpa, AFP)