Turkey Says Saudi Arabia Allows Consulate Search Over Missing Journalist
Saudi Arabia has agreed to let Turkish authorities search the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate after prominent journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing last week, the Turkish foreign ministry said Tuesday.
“Saudi authorities said they were open to cooperation and that a search can be conducted at the consulate building,” the ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
Aksoy added the search will take place as part of the official investigation, which was being conducted “in an intense manner”, though he did not say when.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who had been published in the Arab and Western media, vanished last Tuesday after visiting the consulate to obtain official documents.
Previously Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg that Riyadh would be ready to welcome Turkish officials to search the premises.
Ankara sought permission to search the building on Sunday after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time, Turkish television reported this week.
Riyadh’s envoy in Ankara was first called to the ministry on Wednesday.
While Riyadh claimed he had left the building afterwards, Turkish police said Khashoggi did not come out of the consulate.
Government sources said police believe the journalist was killed inside the consulate. Police also said a special team of around 15 Saudis were especially sent to Istanbul and in the building at the same time as Khashoggi.
Turkish security officials were working to identify the 15 individuals, English-language state broadcaster TRT World reported, adding that Turkish officials believe the Saudis may have taken the consulate’s CCTV footage with them when they returned to Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year fearing possible arrest.
He has been critical of some policies of the crown prince and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.