Turkish Police Believe Saudi Journalist Was Killed at Consulate

Saudi journalist 'killed in pre-planned murder at Istanbul consulate'

Saudi journalist 'killed in pre-planned murder at Istanbul consulate'

After several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the USA, from where he wrote opinion pieces for the Washington Post and continued to appear on Arab and Western TV channels.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and a contributor to The Washington Post, went into exile previous year when Saudi authorities began to crack down on dissident voices.

Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia and was living in self-imposed exile in the USA following a crackdown on intellectuals who criticized the rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a United States ally in the region.

"You would hope that the United States would at least start asking very serious questions about what was going on, and press the Saudis for answers", Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. envoy to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, told CNN. He notes that he is a patriot who loves his country and would have likely agreed and supported numerous social and economic reforms promoted by the Crown Prince, but he could not stay silent to the massive muzzling of free-thinking Saudis that serves to keep the spotlight on MBS as the sole giver of reforms.

Ankara asked to search the consulate where The Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi vanished last Tuesday after entering the building, Turkish NTV broadcaster reported. The official added: "It was a preplanned murder".

It said a team of Saudi investigators were in Turkey working with local authorities.

Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate.

Reuters then contacted Turkish security requesting a comment on the matter, and according to Turkish reports, the agency was informed that there was no other reasonable theory to explain his absence, other than Khashoggi being killed inside the consulate and his body being removed from the premises.

Holding a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a man stands near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. "It has been conveyed to him that we expect full coordination in the investigation process", the official said.

"Jamal was not killed and I do not believe he was killed", Hatice Cengiz posted.

Police said earlier that about 15 Saudis arrived in Istanbul on two flights last Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi.

Turkish officials told Reuters news agency over the weekend that they believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate, allegations Saudi Arabia rejects.

Khashoggi is a longtime Saudi journalist, foreign correspondent, editor and columnist whose work has been controversial in the past in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom.

Khashoggi was living in the USA for the past year in self-imposed exile following the ascension of Prince Mohammed, now next in line to succeed his father, the 82-year-old King Salman.

Saudi Arabia is one of the United States' most important allies in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is also a tyrannical monarchy that punishes dissent, oppresses its own people, and has supported the spread of an intolerant form of Islam worldwide.

The journalist had been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. "But all I see now is the recent wave of arrests".

Saudi authorities dismissed the allegation as "baseless". But the new Al-Arab station, based in Bahrain, was shut down hours after it launched, for hosting a Bahraini opposition figure.

Prince Mohammed - commonly known as MBS - was also the subject of criticism in November 2017 when he was accused of placing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri under house arrest in Riyadh.

What's next: Erdogan's statement today suggests he is not keen on escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia - at least for now - and that Ankara is inclined to await the official outcome of the probe into Khashoggi's disappearance before making a decisive diplomatic move. Turkey's support of political Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, also angers leaders in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which label the organization a "terrorist group" threatening their hereditarily ruled nations.

US Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat who sits on the Senate's Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed shock over the news.

Price said the Obama administration criticized Saudi Arabia in the case of a detained blogger, Raif Badawi.

Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said he first went to the consulate at September 28 to obtain a document related to their upcoming wedding and he returned Tuesday with concern he wouldn't be allowed to leave.

"If Saudi authorities wish to counter these claims, they must produce Khashoggi immediately".

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