Turkey opens investigation into missing Saudi journalist

Riyadh says Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, left the consulate but Ankara says he is still inside

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2018, 11:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 11:59am

Turkey has opened a probe into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist who has not been seen since he went inside the Saudi mission in Istanbul four days ago, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday.

Riyadh insists Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, left the consulate but Ankara says he is still inside.

The news agency quoted Istanbul prosecutors as saying an investigation was launched on Tuesday and had been widened since.

Khashoggi went to the consulate to receive an official document for his marriage.

A former government adviser who has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen, Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest.

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The Saudi crown prince has told Bloomberg that the journalist was not inside the consulate and said he was ready to allow Turkish authorities to search the building.

“We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises,” he said, which is Saudi sovereign territory.

He added “we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do … we have nothing to hide”, he said in an interview published on Friday.

According to Khashoggi’s fiancée, a Turkish woman identified only as Hatice A, he went to the consulate and never re-emerged.

Ankara and Riyadh have given contradictory versions of the circumstances of Khashoggi’s disappearance.