Saudi journalist disappearance ruffles feathers in Washington


Jamal Khashoggi went there to get paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancée, and he hasn't been seen or heard from since October 2.

"Consulate officials can't save themselves by saying, 'He left here.' And relevant authorities are obligated to provide proof of this claim", Erdogan said during a visit to Hungary. But Turkey has formally requested access to search the Saudi Consulate as part of what Turkish officials say is a murder investigation.

"Our country's values should be and must be a cornerstone of our foreign policy with foes and allies alike", he said. A Turkish official linked the call signals of the two twin-engine Gulfstream IV planes to those that investigators believe carried the 15 Saudis.

Turkish officials allege he was murdered inside the consulate.

"The consulate building will be searched in the framework of the investigation", Aksoy said in a written statement.

"We ask the consulate and officials to share the footage of his exit. We don't have any information on that", spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters adding: "We don't want to make any judgments about what happened".

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, said the news reports will increase pressure on the United States government to act.

"Deputy foreign minister Sedat Onal invited the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the ministry yesterday".

Calls for clarity from the worldwide community mounted on Monday, with Britain and France seeking explanations from Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia, which has denied the accusations, is under enormous worldwide pressure, including from the USA and the European Union, to support a "thorough and open" probe into the journalist's disappearance.

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He is a high-profile critic of the crown prince.

One jet, carrying nine people, allegedly landed in the early hours of October 2. All went directly to the consulate and quickly returned to the airport; their plane took off barely an hour after it had arrived, at 6:20 p.m., the newspaper reported, stopping in Cairo as it returned to Riyadh.

The individuals checked into two hotels close to the consulate, the daily said. They left for Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the same day.

In July, the United Nations human rights office called on Saudi Arabia to release all peaceful activists, including women held for campaigning against a ban on driving as it was being lifted.

So far, the kingdom has offered no evidence in the past seven days to show that Mr Khashoggi ever left the building, as the new surveillance photo surfaced showed him walking in its main entrance.

Mr Khashoggi went to the consulate last Tuesday to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could remarry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst who advised four presidents and is now at the Brookings Institution, called Khashoggi's disappearance consistent with the pattern of "crude intimidation" and the growing silencing of dissent in Saudi Arabia. 'I don't like hearing about it and hopefully that will sort itself out.

Trump, speaking at the White House, said he does not know anything about Khashoggi's disappearance and that he had not yet spoken with Saudi officials about the situation.

"We are 100 percent behind the American position".

The mainstream - so far - is not reporting sufficiently on the huge, well-funded Saudi lobbying and Congressional bribing apparatus in the USA; you have to turn to this excellent exposé in The Nation, which reported that "More than a third of the members of Congress contacted by such a [public relations] firm [registered to promote Saudi interests] also received a campaign contribution from a foreign agent at that firm".