Turkey asks permission to search Saudi consulate for missing journalist

Geraldine Edwards
October 10, 2018

On Tuesday he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.

Saudi Arabian officials have invited Turkish experts and related officials to visit its consulate in Istanbul. His fiancee, who had waited outside, said he never came out. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying: "He has left". "I know what everybody else knows - nothing", Trump said.

Erdogan's adviser Aktay told Reuters that Turkish authorities believed the group of 15 Saudi nationals were "most certainly involved" in his disappearance.

They allege he was tortured, killed and cut into pieces. The picture bore a date and time stamp, as well as a Turkish caption saying that Khashoggi was arriving at the consulate.

Saudi Consul-General Mohammad al-Otaibi told Reuters on Saturday that the consulate's own security cameras showed only a live stream and did not record footage, so they could not provide evidence of Khashoggi's movements.

"His is a voice of reasoned criticism and wise comment that the Saudi crown prince should listen to", wrote Law, who said he had known Khashoggi for 16 years.

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"State Department senior officials have spoken with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels about this matter", he said. A search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

The suspects reportedly left the area with two cars whose license plates could be read by the police. If there was evidence of a crime there, it will have been cleaned up days ago.

The Saudi consulate is located on Turkish territory, but under global law, a consulate is "absolutely inviolable" by another country.

However, activists protesting outside the consulate said more needed to be done.

No exact timeframe was given for when the search would take place. "We want to swiftly get results", he said, adding without explanation: "My expectation is still positive".

Consulate officials, however, are not protected from prosecution for "grave crimes" such as murder, and might also be subjected to a civil suit if Khashoggi's family chose to sue.

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He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained past year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudi consulate "must and will" prove where Mr Khashoggi is, saying the Saudis "cannot save themselves" by claiming the outspoken journalist left the building. The consulate officials said that he left shortly after entering the consulate but his fiancee said she did not see him coming out. "It is (the duty) of the consulate officials", Mr Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary. "Don't you have cameras and other things?" Why don't you prove it? "You have to prove it".

A ministry statement said Saudi Arabia indicated it was open to cooperation.

In his first remarks about the disappearance, President Trump told reporters Monday afternoon that he was concerned.

He added that he still hoped the reports of his friend's death were untrue.

The individuals checked into two hotels close to the consulate, the daily said.

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"We agree that if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship and there will be a heavy price to be paid - economically and otherwise", Graham tweeted. It is also possible that MBS has struck a new tie-up with the Israeli secret service - this operation in Istanbul has the footprints of high-calibre professionalism seen in the cases of unseen hands eliminating their opposition with silence and finesse.

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