Turkey asks permission to search Saudi consulate for missing journalist

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland

Turkey says it will conduct a search of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul over the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It emerged today that local staff were given the day off the day he disappeared.

The announcement came as the Washington Post published a surveillance image of Mr Khashoggi walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

She said Mr Khashoggi had been required to surrender his mobile phone, which is standard practice in some diplomatic missions.

"This will be a file between Saudi Arabia and us", the Turkish official warned.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the consulate on Tuesday last week.

Turkish investigators believe that Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after he entered and his body was later removed from the premises, a USA official and sources close to the investigation said. The consulate insists Khashoggi left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He left Saudi Arabia a year ago after he said the authorities had instructed him to stop posting on Twitter.

It's unclear which camera the footage came from, nor who operated it.

Hiatt added that the "idea of a government luring one of its own citizens onto its own diplomatic property in a foreign country to murder him for the peaceful expression of his views would be unimaginable".

Fusun Arsava, an global law professor at Ankara's Atilim University, told Al-Monitor that even if reports of Khashoggi's murder were true, that would be extremely hard for the Turkish authorities to prove.

On Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Turkey could search the consulate for the missing dissident.

Khashoggi was previously a prominent newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and an adviser to a former head of intelligence.

Similarly, Prince Mohammed wowed the business world with promises of having an initial public offering of the state oil behemoth Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco as it's known, suggesting it would have a $2 trillion valuation. "If he left, you must prove this, you will prove this, even if it's with visuals". "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying: "He has left". "Why don't you prove it, you have to prove it".

The prince emphasized Saudi Arabia is taking "extraordinary" measures to locate Khashoggi, "just as we would if it were any other Saudi citizen".

Officials leave Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 7, 2018.

In the United Arab Emirates on Monday, an influential Emirati official named Ali Rashid al-Nuaimi reportedly told youth gathered for a summit in Abu Dhabi that 'our enemies have partnered with media organisations who have reported that the UAE has a prison camp and is committing human rights abuses in Yemen'.

That relationship is already strained over several issues, including Turkey's support for Qatar in the blockade by Saudi Arabia; its closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood - blacklisted by Riyadh as a terrorist organisation; and its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran.

From the beginning, Turkey has been highly critical of the blockade and has helped Qatar by sending troops to Qatar in support, and by increasing trade with Qatar, circumventing the blockade.

Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion.

The Turkish government is looking into Khashoggi's disappearance. "I don't like hearing about it", Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. But he tempered his comments, saying: "Hopefully that will sort itself out".

"Right now nobody knows anything about it, but there's some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it".

Almost a week since Khashoggi disappeared, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his calls for Riyadh to explain what happened to the high-profile critic of the Saudi leadership.

According to pro-government daily Sabah, the team arrived in Istanbul on two private planes, one which landed after 0300H (0000 GMT) on Tuesday while the second plane landed around 1700H (1400 GMT) after Khashoggi entered the consulate.



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