Turkey claims it has proof Saudi writer was killed

Waterloo Region Record - - Canada & World - SUZAN FRASER

ANKARA, TURKEY — Turkey’s gov­ern­ment has told U.S. of­fi­cials it has au­dio and video proof that miss­ing Saudi Ara­bian writer Ja­mal Khashoggi was killed and dis­mem­bered in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, the Washington Post re­ported Fri­day.

The news­pa­per, for which Khashoggi, 59, is a colum­nist, cited anony­mous of­fi­cials as say­ing the record­ings show a Saudi se­cu­rity team de­tained the writer when he went to the con­sulate on Oct. 2 to pick up a doc­u­ment for his up­com­ing wed­ding.

The Associated Press was not im­me­di­ately able to con­firm the re­port and Turk­ish of­fi­cials would not com­ment.

Mean­while, a del­e­ga­tion from Saudi Ara­bia ar­rived in Turkey on Fri­day as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance, a For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial said.

Saudi Ara­bia has called the al­le­ga­tion it ab­ducted or harmed Khashoggi “base­less.” How­ever, it has of­fered no ev­i­dence to sup­port its claim he left the con­sulate and van­ished, de­spite his fi­ancée wait­ing out­side.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the del­e­ga­tion would hold talks with Turk­ish of­fi­cials over the week­end. It did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

On Thurs­day, Turk­ish pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey and Saudi Ara­bia would form a “joint work­ing group” to look into Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

In a state­ment posted on Twit­ter, Saudi Ara­bia wel­comed Turkey’s ap­proval of the joint work­ing group. The Saudi state­ment said the king­dom is keen “to sus­tain the se­cu­rity and safety of its cit­i­zenry, wher­ever they might hap­pen to be.”

Amid grow­ing con­cern over Khashoggi’s fate, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron said his coun­try wanted to know “the whole truth” about the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance, call­ing the early de­tails about the case “very wor­ry­ing.”

Macron said “I’m wait­ing for the truth and com­plete clar­ity to be made” since the mat­ter is “very se­ri­ous.” He spoke Fri­day in Yere­van, Ar­me­nia, to French broad­cast­ers RFI and France 24.

In Ger­many, Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s spokesper­son, St­ef­fen Seib­ert, said Ber­lin was also “very con­cerned” about the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance and called on Saudi Ara­bia to “par­tic­i­pate fully” in clear­ing up re­ports that he may have been killed.

The fi­ancée of the miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist on Fri­day urged U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to use his clout to find out what hap­pened to her part­ner.

Fol­low­ing a Turk­ish court’s de­ci­sion to free Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor, Trump tweeted: “Work­ing very hard on Pas­tor (Andrew) Brun­son!”

That prompted Hat­ice Cen­giz to ask about her miss­ing fi­ancée.

“What about Ja­mal Khashoggi?” she tweeted.

Trump on Thurs­day said U.S. re­la­tions with Saudi Ara­bia were “ex­cel­lent” and that he doesn’t want to scut­tle highly lu­cra­tive arms deals with Riyadh.

Global busi­ness lead­ers, how­ever, be­gan re­assess­ing their ties with Saudi Ara­bia, stok­ing pres­sure on the Gulf king­dom to ex­plain what hap­pened to Khashoggi.

Bri­tish bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son on Fri­day sus­pended busi­ness links with Saudi Ara­bia, and Uber CEO Dara Khos­row­shahi said he might not at­tend a ma­jor in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in the coun­try this month.

Khashoggi, who was con­sid­ered close to the Saudi royal fam­ily, had be­come a critic of the gov­ern­ment and Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

Khashoggi, who had been liv­ing in self-im­posed ex­ile in the U.S., has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about Saudi Ara­bia, in­clud­ing crit­i­cism of its war in Ye­men, and its diplo­matic spat with Canada

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