Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Turkey probes claims that Saudis killed journalist

Turkey believes Saudi journalist was killed in consulate In rebuttal to Trump, bin Salman says Saudi won't pay US for kingdom's security
Jay Anderson | 08 October, 2018, 11:27

Late on Saturday, a government source told AFP that the police believed the journalist was killed by a team that was especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day.

Turkish police have already opened an investigation into his disappearance and are investigating people who entered and left the consulate in the hours before and after Khashoggi went missing.

The charge d'affaires at the Saudi Embassy in Beirut Walid al-Bukhari sadi on his official Twitter account using the widely used hashtag "Jamal Khashoggi play": "The Khashoggi play is a conspiracy and an intelligence plot rigorously created to undermine the reputation of Saudi Arabia and abuse it". Speaking to reporters yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan said he was personally monitoring developments regarding the case.

He said the consulate was equipped with cameras but they did not record footage, so no images could be retrieved of Khashoggi entering or leaving the consulate, which is ringed by police barriers and has high security fences topped with barbed wire.

On Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency released a statement, quoting an official at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, who "strongly denounced these baseless allegations, and expressed his doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue".

The Post cited one anonymous official who said investigators believe a 15-member team "came from Saudi Arabia".

He is also said to have maintained a link with Prince Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency for more than 20 years.

"We are aware of and concerned by these reports".




A day earlier, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had denied speculations that Riyadh had taken Khashoggi in, stressing that Turkey could search the consulate for him. "The Arab world had waited for this moment of freedom for a thousand years", Khashoggi told a Turkey-based Syrian opposition television station, just days before he disappeared.

Khashoggi, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the USA for the a year ago, vanished Tuesday while on a visit to the consulate.

Vowing that Turkish police would solve the case, Yasin Aktay, the deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling AK Party, told CNN Turk on Sunday that Khashoggi's request for the documents were to be obtained "in normal ways". He also said he is hopeful for a positive outcome to the matter. 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.

"Jamal was - or, as we hope, is - a committed, courageous journalist", the newspaper's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said in a statement.

So what do we know about the journalist? Khashoggi was a Saudi insider.

Since fleeing his native Saudi Arabia in 2017 amid a clampdown on opposing views to the Saudi regime, Khashoggi later took up a position as columnist at the Washington Post.

The journalist said he had been banned from writing in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, owned by Saudi prince Khaled bin Sultan al-Saud, over his defense of the Muslim Brotherhood which Riyadh has blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.

His foreign policy moves have been extremely aggressive, including his military support of the government in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and nearly going to war with Qatar due to their support of the Iranian regime.

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