Turkey says it will search Saudi consulate for missing journalist

Turkey says it will search Saudi consulate for missing journalist
© Getty Images

Turkish officials said Tuesday that they will search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who went missing last week.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Saudi authorities were open to the facility being searched and they were also "open to cooperation" for the search.

The statement did not specify if the search had already been carried out.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman, said Monday that Turkish authorities and the media had inspected the consulate, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said in an interview with Bloomberg published last Friday that Turkish authorities were welcome to search the consulate.

Turkish officials on Monday requested "full cooperation" from Saudi leadership and to search the consulate.

Turkish police have said that Khashoggi, who penned pieces critical of the Saudi government, likely was killed while in the consulate last week.

Saudi officials have denied the claim and said they have nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi entered the consulate last Tuesday and did not emerge by the time it closed. He has not been seen since.

Last Friday, The Washington Post ran an editorial arguing that the disappearance of Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to the Post, was part of a larger effort to silence critics of the Saudi monarchy.

"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 piece read read.

"Among those in his prisons for political speech are clerics, bloggers, journalists and activists. He imprisoned women who agitated for the right to drive, a right that was granted even as they were punished." 

The crown prince had defended himself in his interview with Bloomberg last week.

“Here we are trying to get rid of extremism and terrorism without civil war, without stopping the country from growing,” he said. “So if there is a small price in that area, it’s better than paying a big debt to do that move.”

Several U.S. lawmakers, including GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Press: Justin Amash breaks ranks with party Overnight Defense: Iran tensions swirl as officials prepare to brief Congress | Trump threatens war would be 'end of Iran' | Graham tells Trump to 'stand firm' | Budget talks begin MORE (S.C.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' MORE (Tenn.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran MORE (Ky.), have expressed concern about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called for Saudi Arabia to back a thorough investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance, as did the United Nations on Tuesday.