Saudi Arabia to let Turkey search consulate over missing journalist


Considered an authoritative voice on Saudi affairs, Khashoggi has also been a regular contributor on worldwide news outlets.

Turkey's foreign ministry said Tuesday that authorities will search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last week. "We are not in a position to confirm these reports, but we are following them closely", the official said. Salman said Turkish officials were welcome to search the building, insisting, "We have nothing to hide".

A Turkish government source told AFP that police believed Khashoggi was killed at the Istanbul consulate, which Riyadh strongly denied.

That means Turkish police can not enter and search the consulate unless they get permission from the Saudi authorities, which they have now reportedly received.

Khashoggi, who has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, had been banned from writing in the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper following his defence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Riyadh has blacklisted as a terror organisation. "I do not like it", Trump told reporters at the White House.

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. The media also reported that a 15-member Saudi hit team had arrived in Turkey and entered the consulate shortly before Khashoggi's arrival.

"Diplomats get absolute immunity from criminal prosecutions, so if an ambassador was involved in the murder, they can't be touched", Professor Saul said.

The growing dispute over his fate threatens relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey and raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in his columns.

A top Senate ally of Trump warned of a "devastating" impact on the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia if allegations are confirmed.

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"We expect a full-out investigation and full transparency from Saudi authorities on what happened", Mogherini said. President Erdoğan of Turkey has left no stone unturned to expose Saudi Arabia for the "murder most foul" to assert Turkey's supremacy in the region.

Khashoggi was last seen one week ago entering the consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage.

In July, the United Nations human rights office called on Saudi Arabia to release all peaceful activists, including women held for campaigning against a ban on driving as it was being lifted. The Turkish private NTV television said Ankara asked for permission for its investigators to search the consulate building, but a Foreign Ministry official would not confirm the report. "As the President has conveyed, the United States is concerned by his disappearance", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Calling the initial response on Khashoggi late and tepid, Margon said the Turkish example showed the Trump administration does "have the tools and the ability to respond quickly, so it's a question of willingness".

He added: "We trust the government and the actions taken, and all the efforts that are taken in the case of Jamal Khashoggi".

Erdogan, who said he's personally following the case, added that Turkey had no documents or evidence regarding the case. "Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority", he said.

European Union policy chief Federica Mogherini expressed support for Pompeo's statement on Tuesday and said the EU is "fully aligned with the USA position on this".

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the Arab world's most prominent journalists and commentators.