Turkey to search Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Clay Curtis
October 15, 2018

ISTANBUL - A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation into the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, three Turkish sources said on Friday.

"There's something really awful and disgusting about that, if that was the case, so we're going to have to see", Trump said.

"A lot of people are looking to find out because it is potentially a really, really bad situation", the president added with reference to the journalist's possible murder.

The king also said Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations and "that no one will get to undermine the strength of this relationship".

Saudi Arabia warned on Sunday that it would retaliate against any sanctions imposed on the oil-rich kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the Riyadh stock market plunged on growing investor jitters.

The Washington Post reported in recent days that the Turkish government informed USA officials it was in possession of video recordings that prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, but have not made them public. Whatever took place, Corker said, "there was Saudi involvement" and "everything points to them".

Pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah said the search of the consulate had not yet happened because Saudi officials would only allow a superficial "visual" probe.

Turkish officials refused to comment on the veracity of the report, the AFP reported.

Saudi Arabia insists Khashoggi left the building safely and dismissed accusations that authorities had ordered his murder by a hit squad as "lies and baseless allegations".

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The evident murder of the well-connected Washington Post contributor and former Saudi regime insider Khashoggi has stirred up simmering tactical differences within the USA national security establishment related to Trump's lavish praise for the despotic regime and the United States role in the mass killing of civilians and the humanitarian disaster being inflicted on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, where Trump a year ago announced a $110 billion arms package, has been a centerpiece of his overhaul of weapons export policy in which he has gone further than any of his predecessors in acting as a weapons salesman.

Turkey and the United States on Thursday ratcheted up the pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain how a journalist vanished after entering its Istanbul consulate last week, with President Donald Trump declaring he "had to find out what happened".

The Post was careful to point out that it is not certain that USA officials had seen or heard the footage, but appeared to have been told about its content by Turkish counterparts who are loathe to release the footage because it may show how Turkey spies on foreign missions.

"It's a very sad situation, this is a bad situation", Trump said. "And you know what, there are other ways of punishing, to use a word that's a pretty harsh word, but it's true".

The king phoned Erdogan "to thank the president for welcoming the kingdom s proposal to form a joint working group to discuss the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi". Saudi Arabia has been silencing the world, especially the self-proclaimed proponents of human rights in the West, through its lavish arms purchases and bribes.

The newspaper reports the missing Saudi journalist recorded the consulate episode on his smartwatch and the "interrogation, torture and possible killing was recorded and automatically sent to both his iPhone and cloud account."

Dozens of media organisations - some of whom had set up tents - were maintaining a constant vigil outside the consulate in expectation of the search finally beginning.

Ankara and Riyadh have been on opposing sides in the region on key issues, including the ousting of the Islamist Egyptian government and last year's Saudi-led blockade on Turkey's regional ally Qatar.

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