Turkey to search Saudi Consulate for missing journalist

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cell phone at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in 2011

A statement by the ministry said that the search will be carried out as part of the ongoing investigation by Turkish authorities regarding Khashoggi's fate.

Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post who has been living in the United States since past year after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman instituted a crackdown on those critical of his policies, went to the consulate to get paperwork so he could marry his fiancee.

Moulay Hicham recalled recent news reports, which alleged that the Saudi journalist was tortured and murdered "at the hands of his own countrymen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul".

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

According to the comments emailed from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC "Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom", including Ambassador bin Salman.

Meanwhile, the BBC published off-air audio from an interview Mr Khashoggi gave in London, three days before he disappeared.

"Jamal has many friends in the Kingdom, including myself", Khalid wrote.

Reuters' Turkish sources did not say how they thought Khashoggi was killed.

Turkish police sources said they believed the man was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Post's image showed Jamal Khashoggi walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul a week ago.

Almost a week since Khashoggi disappeared, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his calls for Riyadh to explain what happened to the high-profile critic of the Saudi leadership.

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Khashoggi's fiance Hatice Cengiz believes that Khashoggi was not killed.

The consulate rejected the claims that the journalist was killed there as "baseless", in a Twitter message.

"The worrying trend that we see is a crackdown on critical and independent journalism in Saudi and about Saudi", Robert Mahoney, Deputy Executive Director of CPJ, told CBS News' Pamela Falk. The consulate officials said that he left shortly after entering the consulate but his fiancee said she did not see him coming out.

A member of the Saudi elite, he had remained in exile in the U.S. for much of the past year, from where he wrote columns for The Washington Post critiquing aspects of the Kingdom's reform programme.

Turkish officials summoned the Saudi ambassador for the second time on Sunday, telling the envoy it expected "full cooperation" in its investigation. Saudi Arabia is central to his attempt at a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Turkish police investigating the case said October 6 that 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside.

Fred Hiatt, the director of the Washington Post's editorial page, said if the reports were true "it is a monstrous and unfathomable act".

Saudi Arabia, which ranks 169th out of 180 on RSF's World Press Freedom Index, has launched a modernisation campaign since Prince Mohammed's appointment as heir to the throne.

Khashoggi, who left Saudia Arabia in 2017, entered the consulate last Tuesday to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage while his Turkish fiancée waited outside.

Turkish authorities haven't yet released any evidence related to the Khashoggi's disappearance.

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