Turkish Police Believe Saudi Journalist Was Killed at Consulate

Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

The alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate building in Istanbul has drawn backlash from the United States.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkish officials said prosecutors had begun investigating Khashoggi's disappearance and a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AK party said authorities would uncover his whereabouts.

A senior Turkish police source told MEE that Khashoggi had been "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate", said the source, without elaborating.

It came hours after police confirmed that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as the journalist.

Turan Kislakci, a friend who heads the Arab Turkish Media Association, said that Khashoggi received assurances from Saudi officials before his visit that he could enter safely. "We have nothing to hide", bin Salman said in a Bloomberg interview published Friday.

Fearing he would be arrested or banned from traveling outside the kingdom, Mr. Khashoggi left his home country a year ago and moved to Washington, D.C., where he lived in self-imposed exile.

"If the reports of Jamal's murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act", Fred Hiatt, the director of The Post's editorial page, said in a statement. Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards but his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.

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Turkey maintains a military base in Doha that can accommodate up to 5,000 troops; Saudi Arabia demanded Turkish troops withdraw as one of its conditions for ending the standoff with Qatar. And we will continue our dialogue with the Turkish government to see what happened to Jamal there.

Last week, Trump asked at a rally "when you have wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia, like Japan, like South Korea, why are we subsidising their military?"

The prince said: "He's a Saudi citizen and we are very keen to know what happened to him".

In Turkey, Khashoggi's disappearance, and the allegation that his government was responsible, has sparked fears among the many political dissidents from Arab countries who have settled in the country over the past few years and previously felt secure, according to a Saudi dissident living in Istanbul. Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post, which ran a blank column earlier this week to help publicize his disappearance.

"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.

Saudi Arabia invited a group of journalists into the Istanbul mission on Saturday, in an effort to show that Khashoggi was not on the premises.

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