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Journalist Murdered in Saudi Consulate

Journalist Murdered in Saudi Consulate thumbnail

Fears are growing over missing Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi, after Turkish officials said they believed he had been murdered.

Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi national, went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.

A Turkish official told the BBC that initial investigations indicated he was murdered there.

Saudi Arabia has denied the accusations, saying it is “working to search for him”.

The Washington Post said it would be a “monstrous and unfathomable act” if he had been killed.

An official of Turkey’s ruling AK Party told broadcaster CNN Turk there was concrete evidence in the case, although none has yet been presented.

When was he last seen?

Jamal Khashoggi went to the consulate on Tuesday to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Ms Cengiz said she waited outside for 11 hours, but he did not come out.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice waited outside the Saudi consulate on Wednesday

She said Mr Khashoggi was required to surrender his mobile phone, which is standard practice in some diplomatic missions. He told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.

“Jamal is not dead. I cannot believe that he has been killed…!” Ms Cengiz wrote in a Twitter post that included a photo of Mr Khashoggi. She added that she was waiting for official confirmation as the allegations circulated.

What has Turkey said?

Turkey said Mr Khashoggi was killed on the premises and his body was then removed.

Its investigators said a 15-person team arrived at the consulate on Tuesday, returning to Riyadh the same day.

The head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, Turan Kislakci, told the New York Times that Turkish police officers providing security for the consulate had checked their security cameras and did not see the journalist leave on foot.

But he added that diplomatic cars had been seen moving in and out.

What have the Saudis said?

Saudi Arabia said the allegations were baseless. It has allowed reporters into the consulate to show Mr Khashoggi is not there.

On Wednesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News that Turkish authorities were welcome to search the building because “we have nothing to hide”.

The prince said the Saudis were “very keen to know what happened to him”, saying his understanding was that Mr Khashoggi left “after a few minutes or one hour”.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Saudi consulate said Khashoggi left after completing paperwork

When asked if Mr Khashoggi faced charges in Saudi Arabia, the crown prince said his country would need to know where he was first.

An already-strained relationship

Analysis by the BBC’s Mark Lowen, Istanbul

This is a bombshell allegation by Turkey. And while the authorities here are so far not providing evidence to back it up, it’s inconceivable that such a claim would have been made without firm grounds. Ankara’s relationship with Riyadh is too important to jeopardise on the basis of unsubstantiated rumour.

That relationship is already strained over several issues, including Turkey’s support for Qatar in the blockade by Saudi Arabia; its closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood – blacklisted by Riyadh as a terrorist organisation; and its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran. But if proven, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi would be the most serious diplomatic crisis between the two in living memory.

Turkey would hope for backing from its Nato ally, the US. 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.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

He is a high-profile critic of the crown prince. Mr Khashoggi, 59, has more than 1.6 million Twitter followers and has written for the Washington Post opinion section.

The crown prince has unveiled reforms praised by the West while carrying out an apparent crackdown on dissent. Human and women’s rights activists, intellectuals and clerics have been arrested – meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is waging a war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

Media captionJamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia needs reform, but one-man rule is “bad” for the kingdom

A former editor of the al-Watan newspaper and a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, Mr Khashoggi was for years seen as close to the Saudi royal family. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

After several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the US, from where he wrote opinion pieces for the Washington Post and continued to appear on Arab and Western TV channels.

“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” he wrote in September 2017. “To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”

The Washington Post on Friday blanked out his column in support.


14 Comments on "Journalist Murdered in Saudi Consulate"

  1. Cloggie on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:00 am 

    Nobody is killed until the body has been found.

    He might as well have been drugged and thrown in a Saudi slammer.

    But one thing is fairly obvious, that this chap writing for swampy Jeff Bezos libtard propaganda organ aka WaPo unlikely went down very well in Riyadh.

    Turkey anticipates that when the US, for whatever reason, withdraws from empire, the Riyadh regime will fall. Perhaps not in two weeks as DJT contends, but soon. And guess who is going to fill the power vacuum?

    Turkey and Iran.

  2. Ghung on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:23 am 

    “Live by the pen, die by the sword”,, or maybe

    ‘The sword is mightier than the pen”….

    ….. something like that…

  3. Cloggie on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:36 am 

    “The sword is mightier than the pen”….”

    In many cases the pen is mightier than the sword. Or perhaps, the pen precedes the sword.

    First Mohamed and the Coran, next el-Andaluz.
    First Diderot and Encyclopedy, next the guilliotine.
    First Marx and das Kapital, next the Gulag and Soviet empire.
    First Hitler and Mein Kampf, next deportations.
    First Kristol and PNAC, next 9/11 and Iraq/Afghanistan invasions

  4. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:43 am 

    When the GOP sends its people, they’re not sending their best.

    They’re sending people that have a lot of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are just naive idiots.

  5. joe on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:46 am 

    A serious blow to Turkish prestige and power. Not only a murder in plain view of the world but also no possible way to deal with it. Sadly Turkey is a fading Republic, now more a dictatorship than ever, so its likely that this journalist will fade from memory. Even I’m impressed at the bare faced balls the Saudis are showing, its very unArabic, though their indecency cowardly method and byzantine movements show how they operate. If that journalist really had Erdogans backing then there will be a price to pay. Or maybe it’s payback for using his mercenaries in Idlib to root out Saudi backed al qaeda and isis forces. Give em the Ottoman Slap Erdogan!

  6. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:57 am 

    Proud Boyee brags on Twitter about how tough he is for getting in a fight, then video comes out of him getting his ass kicked

  7. Cloggie on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 1:04 pm 

    Dutch 20:00 news: anonymous Turkish sources claim that the journalist has been murdered in the consulate, cut into pieces and smuggled out of the consulate. The terrain is littered with camera’s that “mysteriously” were all out of order.

  8. Nostradamus on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 3:06 pm 

    Likely killed, cut into pieces, dissolved in acid, and poured down the sink with the water running. Disappeared without a trace. Lovely country Saudi Arabia.

  9. Cloggie on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 3:14 pm 

    “Lovely country Saudi Arabia.”

    They are all capable of that, including the West and Russia.

    The Saudi’s are just not very sophisticated.

  10. Nostradamus on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 4:17 pm 

    @Cloggie: Give your head a shake.

  11. THE ONE on Sun, 7th Oct 2018 9:30 pm 


    Wow!!!!! Did you hear the breaking news????? The solution to one of the greatest mysteries of all time- a mystery greater than UFOs or Sasquatch -was announced today.

    For some time now, intense speculation has circulated as to the origin of Donald Trump’s unique hair-doo. The Weekly Star paid a source “in excess of $1 million” to produce close-up photos that show a pubic hair transplant from Trump’s scrotum sac, anus area, armpits, and upper back to his head. The process occurred over a six month period and involved multiple procedures. The article and photos will be published in the Tuesday edition of the weekly newspaper.

  12. Sissyfuss on Mon, 8th Oct 2018 9:22 am 

    MBS and the Sauds play for keeps. The religion of peace is really a religion of death. Everybody gets to play.

  13. BobInget on Mon, 8th Oct 2018 12:16 pm 

    Killing journalists in one’s own ‘house’ sends a powerful message to would be snitches.

  14. Richard Guenette on Wed, 10th Oct 2018 12:22 pm 

    Saudi Arabia is no friend of the West. The Al Saud Royal Family had brutally oppressed its own people for years and imposed its religious views onto the population. And the Saudi military is committing mass murder in Yemen (people are dying from cholera, malnutrition etc.). The best way to hit the royal family in S.A. where it hurts is to: 1).BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) the government and state own businesses, 2) cut off military supplies (such as bombs etc.). 3). Pay out compensation (in the billions) to the victims’ families.

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