Erdogan demands “proof” Riyadh not behind disappearance of Saudi journalist

World Today

A journalist holding a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, speaks to camera near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Demanding answers from Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s president said Riyadh needs to prove it is not behind the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Istanbul.

As CGTN’s Michal Bardavid explains, it’s been almost a week since the disappearance that has led to accusations of murder.

Prominent Saudi journalist, Washington Post columnist, and government critic Jamal Khashoggi was living in self-exile in the United States for the past year. He came to Turkey and entered the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 to receive documents for his forthcoming marriage. His fiancé, who was waiting outside the consulate, said he never came out.

And he hasn’t been heard from since.

Small groups have been protesting in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul with Khashoggi’s photo in hand, demanding an explanation into his disappearance.Turkish officials believe he may have been killed in the consulate, an accusation that Riyadh says is baseless.

“They kidnapped him,” Noble Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman told assembled reporters. “Now there is news that he has been killed. If that news is true, that is an awful, awful crime.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emphasized that he will personally follow up on this issue, and said that the Saudi consulate had to prove Khashoggi had in fact left their building without being harmed.

“Everything, including entries and exits to the consulate are being investigated,” the president said. “Departures and arrivals to airports are being investigated as well.”

On Saturday, Reuters journalists were allowed to enter and search the Saudi Arabian consulate, as the consul general aimed to verify Khashoggi was not being kept in the building. They did not offer any video footage of Khashoggi leaving the premises.

In 2017, Jamal Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia and has been an open critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

An official investigation by Turkish authorities is underway.