Pompeo Arrives In Turkey After Discussing Khashoggi Disappearance With Saudis

Ann Santiago
October 18, 2018

Turkish officials have identified 15 suspects they say flew to Istanbul and went to the consulate the day Khashoggi disappeared.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is holding crisis talks with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today following shocking allegations Jamal Khashoggi's body was cut up and disposed of after he made a visit to the Saudi consulate in Instanbul.

Trump rather clearly doesn't want to shake up the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, either through new sanctions or scaling back an arms deal.

But even in the absence so far of corroborating evidence that the crown prince was involved in Khashoggi's disappearance, he indicted bin Salman: "He had this guy murdered in the consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it?"

On Tuesday, Saudi's consul general reportedly left Turkey hours after it was announced his official residence would be searched in connection with the journalist's disappearance. "They have nothing but contempt", he said.

A Turkish daily on Wednesday claimed it has accessed audio recordings that indicate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before he was decapitated inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul.

"There seems to be clear evidence that Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards", she said.

Yeni Safak, a strongly pro-government newspaper, said Mr al-Otaibi could be heard telling those allegedly torturing Mr Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble".

"Saudi Arabia, if you're listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself".

That could, like Trump's softening comments, seek to give the kingdom a way out of the global firestorm of criticism over Khashoggi's fate.

Blaming Khashoggi's case on mistakes by lower-level personnel would allow the Saudi government to say it never sanctioned his disappearance, and could help to reduce worldwide outrage over the affair, a banker in the Gulf said. The secretary of state described the visit as "highly successful" and said the Saudis had promised to carry out a "thorough, complete and transparent investigation".

Pompeo said the Saudis would investigate and hold themselves accountable, but Saudi's royal family is notoriously opaque.

Mr Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and critic of the Saudi regime, has been missing since 2 October when he visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to obtain documents. However, in a contrary scenario, the kingdom, highly criticized due for the actions of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will remain as a rogue state in the worldwide system.

Bin Salman was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Saudi Arabia during that call. Pompeo was asked point-blank if the Saudis told him whether the journalist is alive or dead.

He also said 'there is a serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials'. Those responsible must be held accountable, he said.

Khashoggi vanished October 2 on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

A team of Turkish police spent more than nine hours in the consulate on October 15 and October 16 and the Associated Press reported that they found "certain evidence" about the killing of the prominent Saudi dissident.

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