Riyadh slams ‘base­less lies’ ahead of talks in Turkey

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Agence France­Presse let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

IS­TAN­BUL: TOP NAMES FROM BUSI­NESS AND ME­DIA HAVE AL­READY CAN­CELLED PLANS TO AT­TEND A MA­JOR CON­FER­ENCE IN RIYADH IN OC­TO­BER

A del­e­ga­tion of a dozen Saudi of­fi­cials was in Turkey on Satur­day for talks on the dis­ap­pear­ance of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi af­ter Riyadh slammed as “base­less lies” Turk­ish ac­cu­sa­tions he was killed in­side its Is­tan­bul con­sulate.

With the mys­tery of his fate un­re­solved 11 days af­ter he walked into the con­sulate and failed to reap­pear, a pro-govern­ment Turk­ish daily said Khashoggi had recorded his own in­ter­ro­ga­tion in­side the mis­sion on an Ap­ple Watch.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials have said they be­lieve Khashoggi was killed in­side the con­sulate. Saudi in­sists Khashoggi, whose writ­ings have been crit­i­cal of Prince Mo­hammed and en­tered the con­sulate for pa­per­work for his mar­riage to his Turk­ish fi­ancee, left the build­ing safely but has yet to of­fer vis­ual ev­i­dence of this.

The out­cry sur­round­ing his dis­ap­pear­ance threat­ens to not just harm brit­tle Turkey-Saudi re­la­tions but also alarm the king­dom’s sup­port­ers in the West and tar­nish the re­form drive spear­headed by Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

Top names from busi­ness and me­dia have al­ready can­celled plans to at­tend a ma­jor con­fer­ence in Riyadh in Oc­to­ber aimed at show­cas­ing the re­forms.

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