Was Khashoggi sent to Istanbul by Embassy in DC?

Saul Bowman
October 11, 2018

US President Donald Trump, in his first comments on the case of disappeared Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said he was "concerned" and hoped the case would "sort itself out".

"I think that would be hurting us", Trump said. "God willing, we will not face an undesired situation", he told reporters, avoiding confirming claims that the journalist was killed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called on Saudi Arabia to investigate the odd disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose case has sparked global outcry over the extent of the kingdom's crackdown on dissent.

Dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, 58, has been missing since last Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage.

"We have nothing to hide", the prince said, claiming that the journalist exited the building "after a few minutes or one hour". "Consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying 'he has left, '" Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit.

Private broadcaster NTV reported on October 9 that all suspects were seen entering the consulate half an hour before Khashoggi and leaving it after nearly three hours.

A Turkish security source had previously told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, had arrived in Istanbul in two planes and entered the consulate on the same day Khashoggi was there, and later left the country. They checked into two hotels in Istanbul, the paper said.

Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia previous year, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. She also asked the Saudi government to release closed-circuit TV footage from inside the consulate to shed light on what happened to her fiancé.

The Turkish reports contradict statements made by a source close to the Saudi royal family who told DailyMail.com that Khashoggi may still be alive.

Turkey Saudi Arabia set to start Khashoggi probe

A critic of the crown prince, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.

Robert Pear, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, said the case could change the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The Foreign Ministry said Saudi authorities have notified Ankara they are "open to co-operation" and will allow the consulate building to be searched.

Later on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that US intelligence had intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Khashoggi, who had been critical of the Salman government, has been living for a year in self-imposed exile in the United States after a Riyadh crackdown on dissent in the kingdom. He had no warrant for his arrest in Saudi Arabia and didn't think that the tensions between himself and the Saudi royal family were at a risky level.

Turkey's private NTV news channel identified one member of the alleged 15-member team as the head of a Saudi forensic science agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for Saudi officials to prove their contention that Khashoggi left the consulate, as most accounts say the last he was seen was entering the building.

Margaux Ewen, the executive director of Reporters Without Borders North America, said she was encouraged that Trump expressed concern but wished his statements had been stronger. He also said the USA was working "very closely" with Turkey, "and I think we'll get to the bottom of it".

"Deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

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