Turkey to search consulate where Saudi journalist vanished
October 10 2018 12:35 AM
Journalists report outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul
Journalists report outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul

Reuters/Ankara

Turkey said on Tuesday it would search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished last week, and close ally Britain called on Riyadh to provide "urgent answers" over his disappearance.

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

His fiancee, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, was killed inside the mission.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan asked Saudi Arabia on Monday to prove its assertion that Khashoggi left the consulate, while Washington urged the kingdom to support an investigation.

Saudi Arabia has dismissed as baseless accusations that it killed or abducted Khashoggi, and yesterday Turkey's state-owned Anadolu agency said Riyadh had invited Turkish experts and other officials to visit the consulate.

Britain urged the Saudi government to explain what happened. "Just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers over Jamal Khashoggi," foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter.

"Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously — friendships depend on shared values," he wrote.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively". The Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations allowed for consulates to be searched by authorities of a host country with consent of the mission chief, he said.

"The consulate building will be searched in the framework of the investigation," Aksoy said in a written statement.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the Saudi authorities.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he plans to speak with Saudi Arabian officials about the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Trump, speaking at the White House, said he did not know details about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Asked if he had spoken to officials in Saudi Arabia about Khashoggi, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office: "I have not. But I will be at some point.

"I know nothing right now. I know what everybody else knows — nothing," Trump said.

The US State Department said yesterday that it did not know what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared in Istanbul after entering the Saudi consulate.

"We don't have any information on that," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.



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