Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Turkey believes missing Saudi journalist was murdered at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkey believes missing Saudi journalist was murdered at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Jamal Khashoggi, an American resident and a columnist for the Washington Post, was killed by the Saudi Arabian government, according to Turkish officials.

Another senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic strategy, said Ankara hoped that Washington and the worldwide community would take the lead in challenging Saudi Arabia over the fate of Khashoggi, a legal resident of the United States and a columnist for The Washington Post.

"It is like 'Pulp Fiction, '" the official commented.

If a crime did take place, it's possible no one would be held accountable as diplomatic immunity potentially covers people involved in an alleged murder.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last week that Riyadh was "ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", because it had "nothing to hide" about the missing journalist.

'As an individual who believes that life and death are in the hands of God, I pray to God alone for Jamal's safe return'. "It would be a violation of worldwide law to harm, arrest or detain people at a diplomatic mission, he said, and noted that no such thing had ever happened in Turkey's history".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Saudi government "to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation". Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively".

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 newspaper said "a person close to the investigation" had shared the image with them. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet also published the image.

The door Mr Khashoggi walked through appeared to be the main entrance of the consulate in Istanbul's 4th Levent neighbourhood. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying: "He has left".

Turkish police operate at least one camera at the front of the building.

Further reports said that a group of 15 Saudis entered the consulate on the same day as Khashoggi and soon left the country, and that Khashoggi had been dismembered and smuggled out of Turkey in small boxes.

Several news organizations have cited anonymous Turkish officials claiming that Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated murder inside the consulate; Saudi officials have denied those allegations.

But he added that diplomatic cars had been seen moving in and out.

Turkish officials have suggested Khashoggi was murdered.

The Saudi writer spent past year in the self-imposed exile, after he fled the kingdom amid a crackdown on intellectuals and activists who criticized the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS/NewscomNearly a week after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, suspicions are rising that the regime in Riyadh has silenced him. All those issues have been viewed as being pushed by Prince Mohammed, who similarly has led roundups of activists, businessmen and others in the kingdom.

Turkish authorities have claimed they have surveillance camera video of Khashoggi entering the consulate but never leaving.

Saudi Arabia calls the accusation "baseless", but has also offered nothing to prove he ever left the building. She said he had been "somewhat concerned that he could be in danger" when making his first visit September 28 but had been encouraged by a "positive" first meeting with consular staff.

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