International desk, October 09: Turkey says it will conduct a search of Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul over the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.The country’s foreign ministry said Saudi Arabia was “open to co-operation” and a requested search of the building could now go ahead as part of the investigation.
Mr Khashoggi was last seen visiting the consul last week and Turkey says he may have been murdered there.
Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion.
It says the journalist left the consulate shortly after arriving, while Turkey says he was not seen leaving the building.
The country has demanded Saudi Arabia prove he left – despite not giving evidence of the claim he was killed inside.
A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.
BBC Newshour interviewed the journalist just three days before his visit to the consulate, and in an off-air conversation asked if he would ever return to his home country.
The programme has released audio of the conversation, saying that although it would not normally do so, it had decided to make an exception “in light of the circumstances”.
US President Donald Trump has said he is concerned about Mr Khashoggi, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia to “support a thorough investigation” of his disappearance and “to be transparent about the results”.
Last week, Crown Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg News that his government was “very keen to know what happened to him”, and that Mr Khashoggi had left “after a few minutes or one hour”.
“Jamal has many friends in Saudi Arabia, and I am one of them,” he said in a statement, saying the two had kept in touch while he was living abroad “despite differences”.
Jamal Khashoggi went to the consulate last Tuesday to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could remarry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
She said Mr Khashoggi had been required to surrender his mobile phone, which is standard practice in some diplomatic missions.
He told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.
Source: BBC and Agencies