Oct 05 2018

Saudi Crown Prince invites Turkey to search consulate for missing journalist

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is still inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul Consulate, the pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper quoted Turkish presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın as saying.

However, Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the country's leading political figure, made a statement on Friday evening inviting Turkish officials to search the consulate for the journalist.

The U.S. based journalist has disappeared after he entered the consulate building in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon to get documents for marriage licence. His fiancée, who was waiting for him outside, said he had never left the building.   

“According to the information we have received, this Saudi national is still inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul Consulate. We will continue to follow this issue,” Kalın said.

He said the incident was not only an issue of international law, but also an issue of Turkey’s laws and had a humanitarian dimension. “We have to examine this from all angles. We hope this case will be solved peacefully,” he said. 

Prince Salman has said he has "nothing to hide" regarding the missing journalist, and told an interviewer he would allow Turkish officials to check the consulate for signs of the journalist.

“The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday at a royal palace in Riyadh.

The Saudi Consulate said Khashoggi went missing after he left the premises. 

"The consulate confirmed that it is carrying out follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building,” the consulate said in a statement to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Al Jazeera reported

“Mr. Khashoggi visited the consulate to request paperwork related to his marital status and exited shortly thereafter,” a Saudi official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said to the New York Times.

 

A U.S. State Department official told the New York Times that the United States was closely following the case and seeking information on it.

Members of the Turk-Arab Media Association, of which Mr. Khashoggi is a member, still believe that he is in the consulate. The Turkish police who provide security for the consulate checked their security cameras and did not see Mr. Khashoggi leave the consulate on foot, the New York Times quoted Turan Kışlakçı, a friend of Mr. Khashoggi’s who is head of the association, as saying. 

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.