Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Canada concerned over reports dissident journalist killed in Saudi consulate

Canada concerned over reports dissident journalist killed in Saudi consulate

Erdogan said that CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and the airport in Istanbul were being studied by the police.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday he still had been following developments with "good expectations" for the situation and he hoped not to "come across a situation that is undesirable".

The disappearance of a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia's rulers after entering the kingdom's Istanbul consulate risks severely tarnishing the reformist image of its de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, experts say.

"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr. Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul", the official said.

Amnesty International has urged Riyadh to to "immediately disclose the evidence supporting their claim" that Khashoggi left the consulate, saying that "otherwise their claims are utterly baseless".

Azzam Tamimi, a friend who had lunch with Khashoggi in London on the day before he went to the consulate in Istanbul, said in an interview Sunday that he had been reassured about entering the consulate by his warm reception on an earlier surprise visit.

Turkish authorities believe Jamal Khashoggi, the missing Saudi Arabian journalist, was murdered inside the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate by a "special team" sent from Riyadh for the objective.

The statement came out after reports published on Saturday night by various worldwide media, citing Turkish officials, alleged that Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

It also raises new questions about the kingdom and the actions of its assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, about whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in his columns.

He disappeared just eight days later, with many pointing to his critique of Prince Mohammed and his policy as the reason behind his disappearance and alleged murder.

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His disappearance has threatened to upend already-fraught relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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 a year ago.

In his opinion articles, Khashoggi has been critical of some policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.

Prince Mohammed downplayed any apparent rift with the U.S. leader and said relations between the two allies remains strong.

And by mid afternoon on Sunday, no Turkish official had publicly accused Saudi Arabia of killing Khashoggi. "It's there since 1744, I believe more than 30 years before the United States of America".

"If the reports of Jamal's murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act", said Fred Hiatt, director of The Washington Post's editorial page, for which Mr Khashoggi was a contributor. But Saudi Arabia has arguably become Donald Trump's closest ally in the Middle East - and Washington may be reluctant to weigh in against Riyadh at this stage.

He added, "Saudi Arabia was there before the United States of America".

The same month dozens of Saudi officials were arrested in what the authorities said was an anti-corruption crackdown. Saudi authorities had no immediate comment, though they've insisted the writer left their diplomatic post.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency also said in a report that the 15 Saudi nationals had been at the consulate for a brief period last Tuesday.

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