Erdogan, Saudi king discuss case of missing journalist

Galtero Lara
Octubre 16, 2018

The Washington Post columnist was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2.

Saudi King Salman has begun weighing in to try to defuse the growing crisis over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the kingdom goes on the offensive triggering a fierce online media campaign.

One source says the report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and transparency and that those involved will be held responsible.

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi assassination team that flew into and out of Turkey on October 2 killed and dismembered Khashoggi.

Trump told reporters on Monday that it had sounded from the conversation with the king "like maybe these could have been rogue killers - who knows?"

Saudi Arabia's state news agency has released a slew of statements from allies in the region supporting the kingdom amid global outrage over its suspected role in the disappearance and possible death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Mr Trump was sending Mr Pompeo to Riyadh because "determining what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is something of great importance to the President".

The journalist was a one-time Saudi royal family insider turned critic who left the nation past year and began writing pieces for The Washington Post.

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Meanwhile on Monday, a team of Turkish and Saudi investigators entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, the Associated Press reported.

"There's something really awful and disgusting about that, if that was the case, so we're going to have to see", Trump said. "We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment" if the Turkish claims are true. Turkish officials have also said they have audio and video recordings of Khashoggi's interrogation.

The kingdom says the allegations are "baseless" but has offered no evidence Mr Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

Saudi Arabia, in turn, threatened to retaliate.

"Pelosi also cited Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's planned trip to a financial conference in Riyadh, despite many having pulled out, and added, "[Trump's] relationship with Saudi Arabia is something".

Few details have emerged over how the joint working group will function, sparking suspicion that Saudi Arabia might be trying to coax Turkey with certain concessions at a time of the latter's economic problems.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, had been a featured speaker at the conference in Riyadh.

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