Saturday, 15 December, 2018

U.S. says does not know what happened to missing Saudi journalist

AP Analysis: Missing writer shows Saudi Arabia’s dark side AP Analysis: Missing writer shows Saudi Arabia's dark side - Breaking News
Ellis Copeland | 11 October, 2018, 16:57

Turkish officials said Mr Khashoggi was killed on the premises and his body was then removed.

Daily Sabah, a Turkish newspaper with close ties to government, namedand published photos on Tuesday of the alleged 15-member Saudi assassination team accused of travelling to Istanbul on the day Khashoggi disappeared.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was "continuing intensively", and that the Vienna Convention allowed for consulates to be searched by the authorities of the host country with the consent of the mission chief.

Saudi Arabia, which has denied the accusations, is under enormous global pressure, including from the U.S. and the European Union, to support a "thorough and open" probe into the journalist's disappearance.

The surveillance image, which the newspaper said it received from a "person close to the investigation", includes an October 2 time stamp of Khashoggi, 59, walking to the consulate's main entrance.

"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul". "We called a few other places, these are lower officials, but they said: 'We have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way, we will announce it tomorrow or the day after"'.

A Turkish official told the BBC that initial investigations indicated he was murdered there.

The European Union fully supports U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called on Riyadh to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, EU policy chief Federica Mogherini said. He said that senior state officials have been in communication with Riyadh.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conveys its regards to the brotherly Republic of Turkey", began the note. The CCTV image, obtained by the Washington Post, was reportedly leaked by somebody "close to the investigation".

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"We wouldn't normally broadcast an off-air conversation, but we've decided to make an exception, in light of the current circumstances", the British broadcaster said in a note published with the recording.

A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.

Erdogan said he would wait for the outcome of the current investigation before taking a decision.

Human and women's rights activists, intellectuals and clerics have been arrested - meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is waging a war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

Khashoggi has been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, causing him to leave his home country previous year to live in exile in the United States.

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. Earlier this year, the Saudi Crown Prince slammed Turkey, stating that the country is part of a "triangle of evil" along with Iran and radical Islamic terrorist groups.

When asked by reporters on Monday about the disappearance on Monday, Trump said, "I am concerned about it".

On Saturday, Yasin Aktay, Erdogan's AK Party adviser and a friend of Khashoggi, told Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera: "We demand a convincing clarification from Saudi Arabia, and what the crown prince offered is not convincing".

"If Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate, it will cast the Saudi regime and its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a new and disturbing light and require a thorough reevaluation of US-Saudi relations", the newspaper said in an op-ed.

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