Turkey opens probe into Saudi journalist's disappearance

Turkey opens probe into Saudi journalist's disappearance
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Turkey's government is opening an investigation into the disappearance of a Washington Post contributor who was last seen entering a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey's state-run media quoted federal prosecutors in Istanbul who said an investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance was underway, Agence France-Presse reported Saturday.

Khashoggi, who is Saudi, is a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia's government and its royal family, and has been living in self-imposed exile since last year to avoid arrest.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News on Friday that his country will consent to a search of the consulate's premises, which is sovereign Saudi territory under international law.

"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises," bin Salman said in the interview.

"We will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do," he added, according to Bloomberg. "We have nothing to hide."

Khashoggi's fiancee told AFP that her partner entered the Saudi mission in Istanbul on Tuesday, and has not yet re-emerged. Saudi officials have said that he left the building, and that they have no knowledge of his whereabouts.

"According to the information we have, this person who is a Saudi citizen is still at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday. "We don't have information to the contrary."

"Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance is a matter of grave concern to us all," tweeted an official at the Saudi Embassy in Washington on Friday. "The relevant authorities are doing everything possible to investigate this. We categorically reject any insinuations of holding @JKhashoggi."

The Washington Post in an editorial on Friday characterized Khashoggi's disappearance as part of a larger Saudi effort to silence critics.

"His criticism, voiced over the past year, most surely rankles Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to crown prince last year and has carried out a wide-ranging campaign to silence dissent while trying to modernize the kingdom," the editorial reads.