Saudi Arabia denies 'baseless' reports of Turkish ambassador's expulsion

Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul

Turkish officials fear the team killed Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish officials have said that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate.

Paul told Kentucky radio station WHAS that he wants to end arms shipments to the Gulf kingdom if there's "any indication" that it was involved in killing Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has dismissed as baseless accusations that it killed or abducted Khashoggi, and on Tuesday Turkey's state-owned Anadolu agency said Riyadh had invited Turkish experts and other officials to visit the consulate. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then had a follow-up call with the crown prince to reiterate the USA request for information and a thorough, transparent investigation.

Erdogan added in a news conference in Hungary, the country he is visiting, on Monday: "I have given my orders to the intelligence services, the Ministry of Justice, the prosecution and the police to take the necessary measures and gather information about Jamal Khashoggi and then reveal them".

"I don't like hearing about it, and hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it", he said.

"There's some pretty bad stories about it", Trump added.

Trump had spoken about Khashoggi's disappearance briefly with reporters on Monday.

The issue threatens to strain the close relationship Prince Mohammed has forged with the Trump administration, which until now has been willing to turn a blind eye to alleged Saudi human rights violations in Yemen, where it leads a coalition bombing Houthi rebels that has killed thousands of civilians. However, they have failed to provide any proof that the journalist left.

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At least one American lawmaker, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, said on Twitter, "If this is true - that the Saudis lured a USA resident into their consulate and murdered him - it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia". "It would be a violation of global law to harm, arrest or detain people at a diplomatic mission, he said, and noted that no such thing had ever happened in Turkey's history".

"Jamal has many friends in Saudi Arabia, and I am one of them", he said in a statement, saying the two had kept in touch while he was living overseas "despite differences".

The prince said the Saudis were "very keen to know what happened to him", saying his understanding was that Mr Khashoggi left "after a few minutes or one hour".

"If true, this is a tragic day". Saudi Arabia is ranked 169th out of 180 in the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders' latest World Press Freedom Index.

Hatice Cengiz made the appeal in an opinion piece for The Washington Post newspaper, where Khashoggi was a columnist and an outspoken critic of some of Riyadh's policies.

"His criticism, voiced over the past year, most surely rankles Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to crown prince last year and has carried out a wide-ranging campaign to silence dissent while trying to modernize the kingdom", the Post editorial read.

US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2018.

The door Khashoggi used appeared to be the main entrance of the consulate in Istanbul's 4th Levent neighborhood, a leafy, upscale district near the city's financial hub that's home to several other consulates. It says seven were imprisoned there last year and nine this year.

Trump, whose first overseas trip as US president was to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said Tuesday he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi, "but I will be at some point".

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