Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Turkish official: Police found evidence journalist was killed in Saudi consulate

Turkish official: Police found evidence journalist was killed in Saudi consulate

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation "baseless", but USA media reports suggest the Saudis may soon acknowledge Khashoggi was killed there, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.

Bachelet stopped short of calling for an independent worldwide investigation, unlike Khashoggi's family, who late on Monday released a statement after a long period of silence.

"Rogue killers" could be to blame, Trump said after telephone talks on Monday with the king.

The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies, who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom, and also undermined efforts by Mohammed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler.

While much of what was discussed has yet to be announced, the US State Department said that Mr Pompeo had used the time to thank the king for his "commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation" into Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi, a familiar face on Arab talk shows, moved to Washington a year ago fearing retribution for his criticism of Prince Mohammed, who has cracked down on dissent with arrests.

Turkish officials say they believe he was murdered there and his body removed, which the Saudis strongly deny.

"He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer".

During Pompeo's first trip as secretary of state in April, the crown prince kept him waiting several hours for an appointment because he was presiding over the groundbreaking of an entertainment center. "I'm not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy's in charge".

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"Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate", Trump said In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, adding the crown prince told him, "that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter".

Talks between the Turkish foreign ministry and the Saudi diplomatic mission in Ankara resulted in Riyadh vowing to allow a probe into the consul-general's home.

The United Nations human rights chief has said immunity on diplomatic premises and officials should be lifted for the investigation. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it?

USA media reported on Monday that the oil-rich kingdom is considering an admission that Khashoggi died after an interrogation that went wrong during an intended abduction.

The president has sent US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet Saudi King Salman in a case that has strained White House ties with the Saudis.

Erdogan told journalists on Tuesday that police sought traces of "toxic" materials and suggested parts of the consulate had been recently painted, without elaborating. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

Trump previously warned of "severe punishment" for the kingdom if it was found to be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance, which has spooked investors in Saudi Arabia and SoftBank, a Japanese firm that manages tens of billions of dollars for the kingdom.

Trump's warning drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon.

The kingdom has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press. "I've heard that report but nobody's knows if it's an official report".

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