Turkey demands Saudi Arabia's 'full cooperation' in probe of missing journalist
Protesters hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 8 in Istanbul. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images) October 8 at 12:08 PM
ISTANBUL â" Turkeyâs foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador to urge âfull cooperationâ in the investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the official Anadolu news agency said Monday, following reports he was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The ambassador was called to the ministry in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Sunday, the agency said. It was the second time Turkey summoned the ambassador since Khashoggi failed to emerge followin g a visit to the consulate on Oct. 2.
Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi, 59, a critic of the Saudi leadership and a contributor to The Washington Post's Global Opinions section, was killed by a team of 15 Saudis flown in specifically to carry out the attack. Saudi authorities have called the charges âbaseless.â
The incident has angered rights activists and press freedom advocates, who have called on the Saudi government to clarify Khashoggi's whereabouts. It has also raised tensions between regional rivals, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Turkey has yet to make any evidence public. The private Turkish broadcaster, NTV, reported Monday that police had requested access to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. It was unclear whether the police were granted access or if they would search the diplomatic mission in Istanbul's Levent district at a later date.
Another report Monday in the daily newspaper Sabah said investigators were also focused on a convoy of diplomatic vehicles that departed from the consulate on the day Khashoggi vanished. A U.S. official said that Turkish investigators believe Khashoggi was likely dismembered, removed in boxes and flown out of the country.
In a meeting with The Washington Postâs publisher, Fred Ryan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States said Sunday night that it was âimpossibleâ that such a crime could be covered up by consulate employees âand we wouldn't know about it.â
The ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Salman, reiterated a statement made by other Saudi officials that video cameras at the consulate had not been recording on the day of Khashoggi's visit. The ambassador declined to discuss the matter further, instead saying, âWe don't want to harm the investigation.â He added, âSpeculation does not help our mission.â
Salman said that Khashoggi, who was once close to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, had âalways been ho nest.â Khashoggiâs criticism of the current Saudi leadership âhas been sincere,â adding that he had seen him personally over the past year and had even exchanged text messages with the missing journalist.
During the meeting, Ryan expressed The Postâs âgrave concernâ about Khashoggiâs disappearance. He said The Post was committed to discovering the truth and that if the investigation showed any Saudi government involvement, the news organization would view it as a flagrant attack on one of its journalists.
Khashoggi had entered the consulate to obtain a document related to his upcoming wedding, according to his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.
She waited outside for hours and called the police when he did not emerge. Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when he fled Saudi Arabia for fear of arrest.
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