Saudi rejects Turkey claims over journo
riyadh — Saudi Arabia on Saturday dismissed accusations surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its Istanbul consulate as “lies and baseless allegations”.
A Saudi delegation was in Turkey for talks on the case. In the first Saudi ministerial reaction to Turkish accusations about Khashoggi, Interior Minister Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef condemned “what has been reported in certain media concerning false accusations against Saudi Arabia...in the case of the disappearance of citizen Khashoggi”.
“What has been reported on the matter of orders to kill him is a lie and a baseless allegation,” the minister said in comments carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). He added the kingdom was “in compliance with international laws and conventions”.
In a rare public comment on the case by a Saudi official, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, told the BBC that Riyadh was “concerned” about its citizen.
The Saudi delegation, whose composition was not immediately clear, is expected to meet Turkish officials in Ankara at the weekend, state media said. It is likely they will take part in a joint working group on the case, whose creation was announced by Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin following a request by Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi official source quoted by SPA news agency said it was “a positive move”. Turkey had agreed to the creation of what it described as a “joint action team”.
Ankara has so far trodden carefully in the controversy, with the most sensational allegations splashed in the pro-government press but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far stopped short of directly accusing Riyadh of wrongdoing. —
istanbul — 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 and lurid claims have been leaked to media that he was tortured and even dismembered.
Saudi insists Khashoggi, who 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 Saudi delegation was in Turkey, due to have talks this weekend in Ankara and take part in a working group on the disappearance whose creation was announced by Erdogan’s spokesman, official Turkish media said.
The NTV channel said the delegation is composed of 11 people and had on Friday inspected the consulate in Istanbul. The composition of the delegation has not been made clear.
Turkish and foreign media who have camped outside the consulate all week noticed the motorcade arriving on Friday but it had not been immediately clear who were the Saudi personnel entering the consulate were.
Riyadh has warmly welcomed the creation of the working group but Interior Minister Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef slammed the claims that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.
He described the allegations as “baseless allegations and lies”.
News reports about orders to kill Khashoggi “are lies and baseless allegations”, the minister said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Prince Aziz said that Saudi Arabia “valued the cooperation with the brothers in Turkey through the joint investigation team and other official channels,” and stressed the
Saudi Arabia guards the interest of its citizens at home and abroad and is keen in particular to clarify the whole truth about the disappearance of the citizen Jamal Khashoggi.
Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud
Saudi Interior minister
important role of the media in reporting facts and not influencing investigations and judicial proceedings.
He said the government of Saudi Arabia is “committed to its principles, rules and traditions and is in compliance with international laws and conventions.”
“He also stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on the interest of its citizens at home and abroad and its keenness in particular to clarify the whole truth about the disappearance of the citizen Jamal Khashoggi,” the SPA said.
Turkey and Saudi have an uneasy relationship with disputes over the ousting of the Islamist government in Egypt and blockade imposed on Ankara’s ally Qatar .
Analysts say that Turkey is hoping to find support from its Nato ally the United States in the case, although Ankara-Washington have been in crisis over the detention for the last two years of a Protestant pastor. But the pastor was freed on and allowed to fly home by a Turkish court, in a move that could help normalise ties. —