Turkey summons Saudi ambassador over missing journalist Khashoggi

Questions linger after journalist disappears

According to The Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a contributor, he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week to get a document for his upcoming wedding.

The Arab21 news website reported that the author paid a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, but was told by officials at the time to return at a later date to complete an application related to a family matter. He added that Saudi Arabia's agreeing to Turkey's request to search the consulate would "at best reduce tensions between the two countries".

Fears are growing over the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials say they believe was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week.

Tuesday's statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Hami Aksoy, said Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to co-operation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

CCTV footage showed Khashoggi entering the consulate - but there is no public evidence that he either left or was kidnapped or killed.

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

Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, on October 8, 2018.

Further reports said that a group of 15 Saudis entered the consulate on the same day as Khashoggi and soon left the country, and that Khashoggi had been dismembered and smuggled out of Turkey in small boxes.

"If the search is carried out a week after the incident, everyone knows that all traces would have been cleared by now", Turkish political scientist Ahmet Kasim Han told DW.

Flight records show that a Gulf Stream IV private jet, tail number HZ-SK2, landed in Istanbul at 3am on October 2, the day Khashoggi disappeared. Turkey had been seeking answers ever since they first summoned Riyadh's envoy to the ministry on Wednesday. Such a search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

The daily's editorial board also called on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ensure the journalist "is free and able to continue his work". However, the consulate has other entrances and exits as well, through which Saudi officials insist he left.

If the Sauds conducted a hit on Khashoggi, they'll have to hope that no one talks and their allies eventually forget about it.

"If he left, you must prove this, you will prove this, even if it's with visuals". She said he had been "somewhat concerned that he could be in danger" when making his first visit September 28 but had been encouraged by a "positive" first meeting with consular staff.

The disappearance of the prominent critic of the Saudi regime, which comes at a time of strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, could cause a diplomatic crisis.

"If he left, you have to prove it with footage".

"If reports of his death and the extraordinary circumstances leading up to it are true, this is truly shocking", she said.

In the meantime, Turkey could declare individual Saudi diplomats as "persona non grata" - meaning they are no longer recognised, ending their diplomatic immunity - or it could effectively close down the consulate in order to gain access to the alleged crime scene.

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