Trump 'concerned' about missing journalist; Saudis deny involvement

Murder at consulate? Turks say dissident journalist killed at Saudi diplo building

"Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him", said consul-general, Mohammed al-Otaibi.

Khashoggi's criticism of the current Saudi leadership "has been honest", adding that he had seen him personally over the past year and had even exchanged text messages with the missing journalist.

Khashoggi fled from Saudi Arabia in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne. Friends and officials have blamed Riyadh for the dissident journalist's disappearance and alleged murder.

Riyadh has denied this.

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

Salman said that Khashoggi, who was once close to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, had "always been honest".

"Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself", Khalid wrote.

But Turkish police allege Mr Khashoggi was tortured and killed by a team flown in from the kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said that Turkish authorities were free to search the premises for the missing journalist and insisted that Saudi Arabia has "nothing to hide".

The official said that a security delegation consisting of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul on Saturday to participate in the investigations into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Saudi consulate said Khashoggi left after completing paperwork Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

The president said police were examining CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and Istanbul airport.

Turkish police investigating the case said October 6 that 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside.

Erdogan, whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam, also supported a government in Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia has designated a terrorist movement.

BBC Newshour interviewed the journalist just three days before his visit to the consulate, and in an off-air conversation asked if he would ever return to his home country.

"The worrying trend that we see is a crackdown on critical and independent journalism in Saudi and about Saudi", Robert Mahoney, Deputy Executive Director of CPJ, told CBS News' Pamela Falk.

A spokesman for Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Saudi officials have relayed to Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate to be searched. Turkey, it said, must back up its conclusion Khashoggi was killed by making public any evidence it has.

He continued, saying that he felt the need to address the "various malicious leaks and grim rumors flying around about Jamal's whereabouts and fate".

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Twitter that if reports of his death were confirmed, "this would constitute a horrific, utterly deplorable, and absolutely unacceptable assault on press freedom".

Khashoggi, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Washington for the past year fearing retribution for his criticism of Saudi policies, entered the consulate on Tuesday to secure documents for his forthcoming marriage, according to his fiancee, who waited outside.

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