Turkey says it will search Saudi consulate for missing journalist

Turkey says it will search Saudi consulate for missing journalist
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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.

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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 GrahamPost peace talks, Afghan elections are the best way forward Trump walks tightrope on gun control Pompeo doubles down on blaming Iran for oil attacks: 'This was a state-on-state act of war' MORE (S.C.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (Tenn.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight 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.