Friend: Saudi journalist ‘killed’ at consulate in Istanbul | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Disappearance of Saudi journalist being treated with utmost seriousness – Hunt

Turkey has asked to search the Saudi consulate and has opened a criminal investigation.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul says he'll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We hope to have results very quickly", he added.

David Kaye, a United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said the disappearance of Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi "puts basically the Turks in the position of having both to maintain a diplomatic relationship and to deal with a real important, high-profile investigation".

The Saudi press seems to be advancing a narrative in which Hatice (Khadija) Cengiz, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancée, is potentially suspicious, with Jamal's son Saleh - who has been banned from travelling for more than a year - stating that he has never met Cengiz. Following the initial announcement by Turkish sources of Khashoggi's killing, she tweeted in Arabic her refusal to believe that is the case.

"I am following it up as the President of the Turkish Republic", Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on Sunday, while confirming that he had known Khashoggi for some time and considered him a friend.

Khashoggi's fiancé told the authorities that he was required to submit his cell phone to Saudi officials upon entering the building - a practice that is not uncommon.

In his newspaper columns, Khashoggi has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

Two former senior Turkish government officials, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said Erdogan would most likely go all the way against Saudi Arabia if it were proven that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

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Meanwhile, the BBC published off-air audio from an interview Mr Khashoggi gave in London, three days before he disappeared.

US Vice President Mike Pence also commented on the mystery over the missing journalist, saying "the free world deserves answers".

While no suspects were named, and the lawmakers' letter to the president is only a preliminary step toward taking punitive action, it marked a departure from decades of close U.S. -Saudi relations that have only intensified under Trump.

The prince promised social and economic reform, but Khashoggi pointed to the escalating crackdown on dissent voices and the media in Saudi Arabia.

Turkish officials and Khashoggi's friends have told The Associated Press they fear the writer was killed at the consulate. Saudi officials deny that. "We will not spare any effort to locate him, just as we would if it were any other Saudi citizen", it said. "The Saudi officials flew into Istanbul on two different flights on Tuesday", Elshayyal quoted his sources as saying, adding that it was not clear if the Saudi delegation consisted of security or diplomatic officials. "He is a journalist but he was also from the Saudi establishment before the present Crown Prince came".

Khashoggi was living in the USA for the past year in self-imposed exile following the ascension of Prince Mohammed, now next in line to succeed his father, the 82-year-old King Salman.

Khalid said that Khashoggi, who was once close to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, had "always been honest".

The Turkish police maintains that Khashoggi had been brutally tortured, murdered and hacked to pieces by a 15-member Saudi death squad sent to Istanbul from Saudi Arabia, who subsequently removed his remains from the consulate.

Some commentators in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also attempted to link Khashoggi's disappearance to a "Qatari-Turkish Islamist smear campaign", claiming that either Qatari or Turkish leaderships would have better information about Khashoggi's location than the Saudis in whose consulate he was last seen.

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