'High probability' journalist killed at Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkish official says

Turkey believes Saudi journalist was killed in consulate

"I am chasing. We will of course share the result with the world", he added. "We have nothing to hide".

Erdogan told reporters that authorities were examining camera footage and airport records as part of their investigation into the disappearance last week of Khashoggi, who had been increasingly critical of Saudi Arabia's rulers.

Eight days later, on October 2, he disappeared while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. Yasin Aktay was one of the names Khashoggi gave to his fiancee to "notify" if he did not return.

"His friends had warned him, 'Don't go there, it is not safe, ' but he said they could not do anything to him in Turkey", said Aktay.

"My sense is that he has been killed".

"If Khashoggi was indeed murdered inside a diplomatic facility, it is an act of terror that echoes Russian and Chinese tactics of extraterritorial, extrajudicial attacks on dissidents, meant to intimidate any who would speak out against the Saudi government, no matter where they may be, and giving the lie to official narratives of "reform" in Saudi Arabia", said Summer Lopez, PEN America's senior director of free expression programs.

The consulate in Istanbul "strongly denounced these baseless allegations, and expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation", the statement said.

Khashoggi rubbed shoulders with the Saudi royal family and supported efforts to nudge the kingdom's entrenched ultra-conservative clerics to accept reforms.

Khashoggi, a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and adviser to its former head of intelligence, left the country past year saying he feared retribution for his growing criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. "I'm not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time". But the new Al-Arab station, based in Bahrain, was shut down hours after it launched in 2015 for hosting a Bahraini opposition figure. Its billionaire backer was detained in the Ritz Carlton roundup overseen by Prince Mohammed in 2017.

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"It would likely trigger a diplomatic crisis with Turkey as well as play into a narrative in (Washington) DC that views Saudi Arabia under MBS as prone to seemingly reckless gambits with little apparent thought for the consequences, be it the blockade of Qatar, the detention of Saad Hariri, the rupture with Canada, to say nothing of the war in Yemen".

"Honestly, if all the resolutions in United Nations about safety of journos mean anything, they must mean, here, investigation and accountability (prosecution, reparations, diplomatic consequences, etc)", the official said.

Mr Khashoggi's fiancé, Hatice Cengiz, was also hopeful.

An official told the Reuters news agency that Mr Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder and his body removed from the consulate.

Four luxury vehicles arrived at the consulate, which was closed for a holiday, yesterday and these vehicles left after about two hours.

The consulate also released a statement on its Twitter account yesterday denying allegations that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate.

The Saudis praised "the brotherly Turkish government" for accepting a request to send a "security delegation of Saudi investigators" to assist in the inquiry into Khashoggi's disappearance.

The official stressed that the safety and wellbeing of its citizens are of paramount importance to the Kingdom.

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