Critical Saudi journalist goes missing in Istanbul

Friends and relatives of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington-based Saudi journalist known for being a vocal critic of the Saudi leadership, say that they lost contact with him on Tuesday, while he was visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, the Washington Post reported.

According to his fiancée, who asked for her name to be withheld, Khashoggi entered the consulate around 1 p.m. and did not emerge at 5 p.m., after the consulate officially closed. 

Turan Kışlakçı, a friend of Khashoggi, said that by midnight there was still no sign of him and they were sure he was still inside.

Spokesmen for the Turkish and Saudi foreign ministries did not respond to messages seeking comment on Khashoggi’s possible whereabouts, the Washington Post said.

Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year, when he left Saudi Arabia over concerns that he would be arrested or prevented from travelling.


He is a prominent commentator on Saudi affairs, who also contributes to the Washington Post’s Global Opinions section.

“We have been unable to reach Jamal today and are very concerned about where he may be,” the newspaper’s international opinions editor, Eli Lopez, said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation closely, trying to gather more information. It would be unfair and outrageous if he has been detained for his work as a journalist and commentator.”

Khashoggi was visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for a marriage license. He went to the consulate on Friday for the first time and left without any incident on that day. 

Over the past year, Khashoggi has written extensively about the growing influence of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince, and been critical of some of Mohammed’s policies, including a campaign of arrests targeting perceived opponents and dissidents, the Washington Post said.