International journalists ponder fate of Jamal Khashoggi

World Today

International journalists ponder fate of Jamal KhashoggiA Turkish police officer secures the entrance to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared over a week ago while on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, sparking an international uproar involving the kingdom, Turkey and the United States that remains unresolved. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Germany, France, and Britain have joined the chorus of those calling for an investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Turkey. And, Washington has threatened Riyadh with sanctions.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

The top story on Yemeni TV this weekend: another Saudi airstrike, presumably aimed at a Houthi rebel checkpoint. Instead, it hit a bus full of civilians. It is the kind of reporting the Saudis do not like.

The show’s anchor says he’d probably be dead by now if the whole team had not relocated to Istanbul.

Now, he is afraid to even here.

“A journalist who was just holding his pencil is killed now! This is really a serious problem, and it’s very frightening for all the Arabic journalists and human rights activists,” exiled Yemeni Television news anchor Shadi Najib said.

The possible death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has shaken their newsroom.

But, it has influential supporters, including Tawakkol Karman, an exiled Yemeni activist, and symbol of the Yemen revolution.  She is the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

 At her Istanbul-based foundation, Karman told us Riyadh’s Yemeni critics have long been alleged targets.

“What’s happening in my country is part of the state-terror of Saudi and the UAE. What happened to Jamal Khashoggi is part of the state terror against Saudi citizens. What happened to him in the Consulate, the same is happening inside Saudi. There are hundreds of people jailed and disappeared. This is not the first time they kidnap Saudi citizens and disappear them,” said Karman.

Part of the Turkish-Arab Media Association’s job is to protect Saudi journalists based in Turkey.

Turan Kislakci was supposed to be joining his friend Jamal Khashoggi this weekend to host a seminar for some of them.

Kislakci worries a new precedent could be set if he’s dead.

“This should never happen again, otherwise it’s going to get worse and worse. And if there is no justice in this murder, the consequences will be terrible. It means that anything can happen anywhere to a journalist since even in the middle of Europe, a journalist may be shut down this way,” Turkish-Arab Media Association member Kislakci said.

Istanbul has become a haven for those fleeing the Arab counter-revolution.

Many now fear for their lives. There are thought to be some 1.2 million Arabs living in Istanbul, and well over a thousand Arab journalists residing in Turkey. Their worry is that if Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and if the Saudi state does turn out to be responsible, neither prominence nor exile will ensure their protection.
Though Turkey is also accused of being part of a wider and growing problem.

Tawakkol has risked her life many times in the past and says she’ll keep on doing so. Her friends at Yemeni TV are still on-air.