Post: Killing of jour­nal­ist recorded

News­pa­per says Turkey has proof; Saudi del­e­ga­tion ar­rives

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - SUZAN FRASER

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 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 Fri­day in Turkey 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 fi­ancee 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 spokesman 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.”

As con­cern grows over Khashoggi’s fate, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron said he wants 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 spokesman, 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.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day said he will speak soon with Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man about Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

Trump called it a “se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion” and pledged that the U.S. govern­ment will find out what hap­pened to Khashoggi. U.S. of­fi­cials say they are seek­ing an­swers from the Saudi govern­ment, and are not yet ac­cept­ing the Turk­ish govern­ment’s con­clu­sions.

Trump said Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin will eval­u­ate at a later date whether to at­tend a Saudi in­vestor con­fer­ence later this month. Mnuchin had in­di­cated ear­lier Fri­day that he still planned to at­tend.

The fi­ancee of the miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist on Fri­day urged Trump to use his clout to find out what hap­pened to her part­ner.

Af­ter 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 fi­ancee.

“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 Per­sian 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, a 59-year-old jour­nal­ist who was con­sid­ered close to the Saudi royal fam­ily, had be­come a critic of the cur­rent govern­ment and Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, the 33-year-old heir ap­par­ent who has in­tro­duced changes but has shown lit­tle tol­er­ance for crit­i­cism.

Khashoggi had been liv­ing in self-im­posed ex­ile in the United States since last year. As a con­trib­u­tor to The Wash­ing­ton Post, he has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about Saudi Ara­bia, in­clud­ing crit­i­cism of its war in Ye­men, its re­cent diplo­matic dis­pute with Canada and its ar­rest of women’s-rights ac­tivists af­ter the lift­ing of a ban on women driv­ing.

Those poli­cies are all seen as ini­tia­tives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of ac­tivists and busi­ness­men.

AP/PET­ROS GIAN­NAKOURIS

A se­cu­rity guard is seen Fri­day at the en­trance to Saudi Ara­bia’s Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, where jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi dis­ap­peared Oct. 2.

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