Turkey believes journalist killed in Saudi consulate

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The revelations came as Turkey widened its investigation into the disappearance of the dissident Saudi journalist after Saudi Arabia failed to back its claim that he left the consulate on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Turkish authorities said he had been murdered.

One Turkish official said police would release evidence on Sunday to support their assessment that the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, is dead.

An unnamed Turkish official told the Reuters news agency on Saturday that Turkish police believed Khashoggi had been killed and his body removed from the building. Another official confirmed the story.

A source at the Saudi consulate denied that Khashoggi had been killed at the mission and said in a statement that the accusations were baseless.

Khashoggi has retained ambiguous ties to Saudi authorities, having held advisory positions in Riyadh and Washington - including to Prince Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency for more than 20 years.

Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the USA since 2017 fearing arrest for his critical views of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On Saturday, Yasin Aktay, Erdogan's AK Party adviser and a friend of Khashoggi, told Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera: "We demand a convincing clarification from Saudi Arabia, and what the crown prince offered is not convincing".

Mr Khashoggi has also criticised Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen, where Riyadh leads a military coalition fighting alongside the government in its war with Iran-backed rebels.

The journalist's disappearance could exacerbate tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which are jockeying for influence in the region. More details from the Turkish authorities are expected on Sunday.

"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", he said, adding that "we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do..."

"As soon as we have a conclusion, we will share it with the world", Erdoğan said and assured everyone that the officials were doing everything to shed light into Khashoggi's disappearance as quickly as possible. But Turan Kislakci added that diplomatic cars had been seen moving in and out.

His interview came a day after Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, that Saudi King Salman would not last in power unless the U.S. provided military support for the Arab kingdom. 'We have nothing to hide'.

He reached the consulate on Tuesday to secure documentation for a forthcoming marriage, according to his fiancée, who waited outside.

Khashoggi may have been considered especially unsafe by the Saudi leadership, analysts said.

Never one to mince his words, Khashoggi described a new Saudi era of "fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming" in an article published in the Post past year.

"Mr. Jamal is a journalist friend I have known for a very long time, therefore I still hope for a positive outcome", Erdoğan said speaking to the press.

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