Turkey says authorities have concrete information on missing Saudi journalist

Clay Curtis
October 16, 2018

Republican Sen. Rand Paul says he'll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking US arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi officials talking to state media have said that the journalist left the consulate after his visit, denying the Turkish claims. "Hopefully that will sort itself out", Trump told reporters at the White House. "I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate".

WikiLeaks also pointed out that the incident has so far prompted no reaction from US President Donald Trump or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In the wake of the disappearance, Trump and his administration have resisted cutting ties to Saudi Arabia, a key United States defense and trading partner.

The brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he had "regular contact" with a missing Saudi journalist and critic before his disappearance last week, calling Jamal Khashoggi a "friend" as he dismissed allegations that Saudi Arabia killed or detained him "absolutely false, and baseless". One of the officials describes a member of the Saudi team as an "autopsy expert" amid earlier allegations that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered.

The 33-year-old heir to the throne in the kingdom hosted US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey, in the Saudi capital, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Human rights groups have called on Saudi Arabia to verify his whereabouts.

The surveillance image bore a date and time stamp, as well as a Turkish caption saying that Khashoggi was arriving at the consulate. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

Rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani says it would be "truly shocking" if reports of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are confirmed.

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No serious injuries were reported, however, and police said the victims refused medical attention. The Upper East Side Republican Club where McInnes spoke was vandalized before Friday's event.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "God willing, we will not be faced with the situation we do not desire" when asked by journalists about Khashoggi.

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

Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed his comments in a statement late Wednesday, saying there were "conflicting reports", but that the U.S. was "concerned" by Khashoggi's disappearance. The newspaper said the U.S. should demand answers from the Saudis.

Khashoggi, a USA resident, has written articles over the past year critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mr Khashoggi had been living in the USA, where he contributed articles to the Washington Post's opinion section.

In addition, Trump has established a trio of goals in the Middle East that depend on Saudi Arabia's rulers and their money. "It is based on political Islam", Khashoggi said. She accused Saudi Arabia of "state terrorism" and called on the global community to take action against the kingdom.

Turkish officials later announced that they believed Khashoggi was murdered inside of the consulate and that his body was transported out of the building.

Last week, the crown prince told Bloomberg News that his government was "very keen to know what happened to him", and that Mr Khashoggi had left "after a few minutes or one hour".

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