Saudi Arabia denies journalist killed at consulate in Turkey

In rebuttal to Trump, bin Salman says Saudi won't pay US for kingdom's security

In rebuttal to Trump, bin Salman says Saudi won't pay US for kingdom's security

The Saudi Consulate insists Khashoggi left its building, contradicting Turkish officials who say they believe he is still there.

A Turkish police source told the Middle East Eye that officials believe Khashoggi was "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces" while inside the consulate.

The official said that a security delegation consisting of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul on Saturday to participate in the investigations into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Meanwhile, a small group of journalists and NGO members staged a protest outside Saudi consulate in Istanbul to denounce the disappearance of Khashoggi.

A fierce critic of Saudi policies, the royal family and its power, Mr Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile in Washington for the a year ago, fearing retribution for his views. He has not been heard of since.

What's next: Erdogan's statement today suggests he is not keen on escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia - at least for now - and that Ankara is inclined to await the official outcome of the probe into Khashoggi's disappearance before making a decisive diplomatic move.

The US is seeking more information, a State Department official said.

On Monday Turkey asked for permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate for Khashoggi.

The growing dispute over his fate threatens relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey and raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in his columns. "If the Saudis are in fact proven to have killed Khashoggi, upholding USA values and interests demand accountability, including use of sanctions or suspension of arms sales".

A consummate insider, he advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Trump has boasted of his strong relationship with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who on Monday demanded that the Saudi monarchy prove Khashoggi left its consulate in Istanbul as Riyadh has claimed.

According to two sources quoted by The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi worked, the journalist died earlier this week at the hands of a Saudi assassination squad.

Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia a year ago, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. He visited the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documentation to finalize his divorce; his Turkish fiancée waited for him outside the building, and reported him missing after he didn't return.

The journalist's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said on Twitter she was "waiting for an official confirmation from the Turkish government" before she could believe the claims. Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar past year in a show of support after its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha. He said he believes Turkish officials soon will announce the findings of their investigation.

"I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice".

While some stale conventional wisdom holds that the United States can not simultaneously stand for principles of human dignity while also maintaining stable relations with autocratic allies who share its other interests, there is ample precedent otherwise.

Prince Mohammed had in an interview with Bloomberg said that the journalist had left the consulate and Turkish authorities could search the building, which is Saudi sovereign territory.

"With young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, he promised an embrace of social and economic reform".

"It anguishes me to speak with other Saudi friends in Istanbul and London who are also in self-exile".

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