Prominent Saudi Arabian Journalist Killed at Saudi Consulate, Friend Says
(ISTANBUL) â" A friend of a prominent Saudi journalist who went missing in Istanbul said Sunday that officials told him to âmake your funeral preparationsâ as the Washington Post contributor âwas killedâ at the Saudi Consulate.
A Turkish official separately told The Associated Press that authorities believe Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate, while another said it was a âhigh probability.â
Saudi officials have denied allegations that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, calling them âbaseless.â
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan only said âGod willing, we will not be faced with the situation we do not desireâ when asked by journalists about Khashoggi.
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.
Turan Kislakci, a friend of Khashoggi and the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, spoke to the AP on Sunday outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He said he believes Turkish officials soon will announce the findings of their investigation.
âWhat was explained to us is this: He was killed, make your funeral preparations,â Kislakci said. âWe called a few other places, these are lower officials, but they said: âWe have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way, we will announce it tomorrow or the day after.'â
Kislakci also alleged, based on conversations with offici als he did not name, that Khashoggi was made to âfaint,â then was dismembered.
A Turkish official told the AP late Saturday that an âinitial assessmentâ by police concluded Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate. On Sunday, another official assessed as âhigh probabilityâ that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was taken away.
The Post reported on the policeâs theory late Saturday, citing two anonymous sources.
âIf the reports of Jamalâs murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act,â the Postâs editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement. âJamal was â" or, as we hope, is â" a committed, courageous journalist. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom.â
The state-run Saudi Press Agency early Sunday morning carried a statement from the Istanbul Consulate that âstrongly denounced these baseless allegations,â and expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue. It said Saudi Arabia sent a team of investigators to help look into the case.
Meanwhile, Erdogan did not directly repeat the investigatorsâ fears about Khashoggi being dead when talking to reporters following a meeting of his Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkeyâs capital.
âThe entries and exits from the consulate are â¦ all being investigated now and being followed and all departures and arrivals from the airport are all being followed and our police force is controlling them and at the same time various units of our police chasing it,â he said. âWe will see and we want a result from here of course with speed.â
Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey and Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed.Source: Google News Saudi Arabia | Netizen 24 Saudi Arabia