World

Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist

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. Writing as a columnist for the Washington Post, articles took aim at the country's conduct in Yemen's civil war, and the crushing of political dissent at home by heir apparent Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Recall that in June of past year, several Arab states - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) - broke relations with Qatar and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on Qatar.

Saudi Arabia has made a number of demands on Qatar to end the crisis. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying, 'He has left, '" Erdogan said on a visit to Budapest.

"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", he said.

"Consulate officials can't save themselves by saying, 'He left here.' And relevant authorities are obligated to provide proof of this claim", Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary.

After several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the U.S., from where he wrote opinion pieces for the Washington Post and continued to appear on Arab and Western TV channels.

Khashoggi's disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The consulate is Saudi sovereign territory.

Prince Mohammed earlier denied in an interview with Bloomberg that the journalist had been inside the consulate and said Turkish authorities could search the building, which is Saudi sovereign territory.

The fate of a dissident Saudi journalist who has disappeared in Istanbul, remains unknown.

According to his fiancee Cengiz, Khashoggi had visited the consulate to receive an official document for his marriage.




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.

Istanbul prosecutors are investigating the incident, while the consulate said on Twitter that it was working in coordination with Turkish authorities.

Turkey summoned the Saudi ambassador on Sunday to request the kingdom's "full cooperation" in the investigation, a Foreign Ministry official said.

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.

'It goes without saying that his family in the kingdom remain gravely concerned about him, and so are we'.

But the disappearance of the journalist, however prominent, may not affect President Trump's bet on the Saudi heir to the throne.

The episode has put the United Kingdom in an awkward diplomatic position since it is close both to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Two Turkish sources also confirmed Khashoggi's death, stressing he was killed inside the consulate.

He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained a year ago as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign.


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