Missing Saudi journalist reportedly ’killed in a barbaric way’ at consulate

Turkey demands convincing explanation on 'missing' Saudi journalist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday urged the Saudis to back up their claim that Khashoggi left the consulate.

The disappearance of the prominent critic of the Saudi regime, which comes at a time of strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, could cause a diplomatic crisis.

"We don't know what has happened to him". "We have some concrete information, it won't be an unresolved crime", the Middle East Eye reported.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

Mr Hunt said that if reports of Mr Khashoggi's death proved correct, the United Kingdom would regard the situation as "serious", adding: "Friendships depend on shared values".

"Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression".

But Dalay said he did not believe "that much money is involved between Turkey and Saudi Arabia".

Searches of diplomatic buildings are incredibly rare - under global law, the grounds of an embassy or consulate are considered to belong to the country that is represented there, not the host nation.

Turkish officials have said he was murdered there, while Saudi Arabia says he safely left the building.

United Kingdom foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt meanwhile tweeted that he had spoken to the Saudi ambassador and that the United Kingdom "will treat the incident seriously" if reports are accurate. He added that Saudi Arabia's agreeing to Turkey's request to search the consulate would "at best reduce tensions between the two countries".

Turkey's state-run news agency, quoting police, has said 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul aboard two planes and were inside the consulate building when Khashoggi went missing.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicized drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

It has voiced deep concern at the "apparent enforced disappearance".

President Donald Trump also publicly expressed concern over the reports surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance. Banners read, "We will not leave without Jamal Khashoggi".

"Perhaps I'm simply trying to hide from the thought that I have lost a great man whose love I had earned".

Trump said earlier on Tuesday he plans to speak with the Saudis without elaborating.

Vice President Mike Pence said he was "deeply troubled" about reports of Khashoggi's fate.

Since then, Turkish and Saudi officials have offered conflicting accounts of his disappearance, with Ankara saying there was no evidence that he had left the diplomatic mission and Riyadh saying he exited the premises the same day.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said if Saudi Arabia had lured a US resident into a consulate and killed him, "it's time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia".

Khashoggi was once a Saudi newspaper editor and is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks.

Ties between Ankara and Riyadh are at a low point over Turkey's support for Qatar in its year-long dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

He had been living since a year ago in the United States, in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman.

Turkish investigators believe that Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after he entered and his body was later removed from the premises, a US official and sources close to the investigation said.

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