Turkey asks to search Saudi consulate for journalist | News | DW | 08.10.2018
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Turkey asks to search Saudi consulate for journalist

Turkey wants Saudi Arabia to prove that journalist Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate alive, as has been claimed. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for a thorough and open probe into the matter.

Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing last week while on a visit to the mission, broadcaster NTV reported Monday.

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Erdogan: 'If he left, you have to prove it'

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a staunch critic of Saudi Arabia's policies, was likely killed inside the consulate where he had gone on Tuesday to obtain an official document for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish partner.

Saudi Arabia's consul-general has rejected the murder allegations and said his country was helping search for Khashoggi.

Riyadh has maintained that the journalist left the mission shortly after his work was done.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he was personally monitoring the case, told reporters that consulate officials must prove that Khashoggi left the building.

"We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying 'He has left'," Erdogan told a news conference while on a trip to Budapest.

Read moreSaudi journalist's disappearance complicates Saudi-Turkish ties

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Saudi journalist feared killed in consulate

Second summon to Saudi envoy

Erdogan said Turkey had no documents or evidence at hand regarding the case.

Turkey summoned Saudi Arabia's envoy to Ankara for a second time on Sunday to seek "full coordination in the investigation process."

Khashoggi, a regular contributor to The Washington Post, has been a fierce critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has criticized Saudi Arabia's policies toward Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen and a crackdown on dissent, the media and activists.

Read moreSupporters of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi rally in Istanbul

Turan Kislakci, a friend of Khashoggi who heads the Turkish-Arab Media Association, told DW on Saturday that the journalist "was killed because of his opinion about the wars in Yemen and Syria."

"After Jamal Khashoggi entered the consulate, 15 people entered as well, they had arrived from Saudi Arabia in two different planes," he said. "He was murdered inside the consulate, and we assume that he was cut into pieces, they put his body parts in bags, and left."

'Devastating' impact

US President Donald Trump weighed in on the issue on Monday, telling reporters at the White House that he was "concerned" about Khashoggi's disappearance. "Right now, nobody knows anything about it," he said. "There are some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it." 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also voiced concern and called for a thorough and open probe by Saudi Arabia.

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation," Pompeo said in a statement.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham went a step further, warning of a "devastating" impact on Washington's alliance with Riyadh if allegations that the kingdom murdered Khashoggi are confirmed.

Graham said his position was shared by Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat on the panel.

Germany on Monday expressed concern about Khashoggi's disappearance. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would not speculate on what happened.

According to The Washington Post, the newspaper's publisher Fred Ryan met with the Saudi ambassador to the US on Sunday night. Riyadh's Washington envoy reportedly told Ryan it was "impossible" that consulate employees could cover up such a crime "and we wouldn't know about it."

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ap/cmk (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

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