Saudi ambassador told to explain Turkish journo's disappearance from Saudi consulate

Saudi ambassador told to explain Turkish journo's disappearance from Saudi consulate

Saudi ambassador told to explain Turkish journo's disappearance from Saudi consulate

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and author of several articles critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing October 2 after visiting the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul.

"The consulate confirmed that it is carrying out follow-up procedures and coordination with the Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building", an official statement carried by Saudi news agency SPA said.

Turkish police have reportedly examined surveillance footage from the area and say there is no sign of Khashoggi leaving the consulate, Kislakci added.

"This Saudi citizen is still inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to the information we have", Ibrahim Kalin, spokesperson for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said late Wednesday after the Saudi ambassador went to Turkey's Foreign Ministry.

"I think 100% that he is inside", he said.

He went into a self-imposed exile in the U.S. following the ascension of Prince Mohammed, now next in line to the throne of his father, 82-year-old King Salman.

He said contacts were continuing to "overcome the problem".

"The Post is extremely concerned about Jamal", Post editor Fred Hiatt said.

"I haven't received any news from him since 1 pm (1000 GMT) on Tuesday", 36-year-old Hatice, who would not give her family name, said as she stood near barricades.

"I don't know what has happened to him".

The incident is raising concern that Khashoggi may have been caught up in Saudi Arabia's recent crackdown on free speech.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the Saudi's disappearance was a cause for alarm "given the Saudi authorities' pattern of quietly detaining critical journalists". We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

The two countries maintain cordial relations but are on opposing sides of a regional dispute pitting Qatar against a bloc of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia.

"We are closely following reports of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and continue to seek information", a State Department official said.

As a journalist, he interviewed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times in Afghanistan and Sudan, and served twice as editor of Al Watan newspaper.

"Mr. Khashoggi visited the consulate to request paperwork related to his marital status and exited shortly thereafter", the official said.

He advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

"I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice", he wrote in a column a year ago. "I can speak when so many cannot". Khashoggi said the choice for self-exile was hard but ultimately the right decision. I have family back in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, which ranks 169th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has launched a modernisation campaign since the 2017 appointment of Prince Mohammed as heir to the throne.

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