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Pompeo wants 'thorough' Saudi probe of journalist's disappearance

09 October 2018

The foreign secretary has called on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning that Britain's relationship with the kingdom could be at stake if reports of his murder at the hands of Saudi Arabian agents are true.

Yasin Aktay, who advises Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in his ruling AK Party, told Reuters that Turkish authorities believed a group of 15 Saudi nationals were "most certainly involved" in the matter, and added that statements by Saudi officials on the absence of camera records were not honest.

Pompeo's statement came after Trump earlier on Monday told reporters at the White House: "I am concerned".

Khashoggi is a former advisor to Saudi intelligence and was highly critical of the kingdom's war in Yemen as well as a recent crackdown on dissent. Right now, nobody knows anything about it, but there's some pretty bad stories going around.

Yemeni Nobel Prize victor Tawakkol Karman, centre, participates at a demonstration for Khashoggi that was organized by the Turkish-Arabic Media Association in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Friday. He had been living since previous year in the United States, in self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has shown little tolerance for criticism.

The private DHA agency said the planes, which it identified as a two Gulfstreams belonging to a Riyadh-based company that hires private jets, landed at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on the day Khashoggi vanished. "Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority for the Kingdom".

Mr Khashoggi was last seen visiting the consulate last week and Turkey says he may have been murdered there.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News last week that Mr Khashoggi had left the building shortly after entering it.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Saudi consulate said Khashoggi left after completing paperwork Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

The news 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.

Turkish authorities have concrete information on the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for six days, a deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling AK Party said on Sunday.

Jeremy Hunt has warned Saudi Arabia that "friendships depend on shared values" after questioning the country's ambassador over the disappearance of a journalist. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying, 'He has left, '" Erdogan said on a visit to Budapest.

Meanwhile, the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association in Turkey, Turan Kislakci has told Shebab that Turkish officials had assured him of Khashoggi having been brutally murdered inside the consulate.

A member of the Saudi elite, he had remained in exile in the U.S. for much of the past year, from where he wrote columns for The Washington Post critiquing aspects of the Kingdom's reform programme.

Saudi Arabia has made a number of demands on Qatar to end the crisis.

Members of Congress, where there has always been bipartisan skepticism about Saudi Arabia, have issued statements and tweets demanding answers from Riyadh. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted, "I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive".

Pompeo wants 'thorough' Saudi probe of journalist's disappearance