Turkey's president says he hopes Saudi writer OK

Howard TerryOct 08, 2018

But Turkish police believe he was killed by a team of assassins who were sent to Istanbul and departed the same day, according to a government source.

Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said he first went to the consulate at September 28 to obtain a document related to their upcoming wedding and he returned Tuesday with concern he wouldn't be allowed to leave.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters and other outlets on Sunday that he was following the case and hoped for a positive outcome, and that authorities were examining surveillance camera footage and monitoring airport departures and arrivals.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the Saudi crown prince earlier denied that the journalist had been inside the consulate and said he was ready to allow Turkish authorities to search the building.

A former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and adviser to its former head of intelligence, Khashoggi left the country a year ago saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.

"His friends had warned him "don't go there, it is not safe" but he said they could not do anything to him in Turkey", said Atkay, adding that he still hoped the allegations of his friend's death were untrue.

Saudi officials said he left shortly afterwards but his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.

Fred Hiatt, director of The Washington Post's editorial page, issued a statement calling Khashoggi's possible murder a "monstrous and unfathomable act".

"God willing we will not be faced with a situation we do not want", the president told reporters in Ankara, adding: "I still am hopeful".

But Qatari news channels and Turkish parties said Khashoggi was still being held at the consulate.

"He said they were really good; there are just ordinary Saudis and the ordinary Saudis are good people; they don't necessarily agree with the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman".

A spokesman for the European Commission said it was looking into the journalist's disappearance: "We have asked for and we are awaiting clarifications from the Saudi authorities on the fate of Mr. Khashoggi". On Sunday, another official assessed it as "high probability" that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was taken away. Saudi officials have called the allegation "baseless".

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.

Dozens of dissidents were arrested, including intellectuals and Islamic preachers.

Erdogan, whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam, also supported a government in Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia has designated a terrorist movement.

The Saudi government has stressed that it is keen on the safety of its citizens, wherever they are in the world, and that it will not rest before 'knowing the secrets behind Khashoggi's disappearance in a foreign country'. In the kingdom's eyes, Khashoggi - through his platform in the Washington Post and access to stakeholders in the U.S. and Europe - was more than a critic: he had become a threat.

Perhaps the main thing to be aware of is that he has described Prince Mohammed as a "brash and abrasive young innovator" - and even said he is "acting like Putin".

Turan Kislakci, a friend of Jamal Khashoggi and the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials also told him they "have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way" and dismembered.

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