A Saudi Arabian journalist is missing and Turkish authorities believe he was brutally murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi reporter who's often been critical of the Saudi Arabian government, entered the consulate last Tuesday but hasn't been seen since.
- A Saudi Arabian journalist is missing and Turkish authorities believe he was brutally murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
- Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi reporter who’s often been critical of the Saudi Arabian government, entered the consulate last Tuesday but hasn’t been seen since.
- Saudi Arabia claims Khashoggi left the consulate and rejects claims he was murdered.
- The Turkish government is demanding the Saudis prove Khashoggi left the consulate.
A Saudi Arabian journalist is missing and Turkish authorities believe he was brutally murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Jamal Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi reporter who’s often been critical of the Saudi Arabian government, entered the consulate last Tuesday to obtain documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiance, Hatice Cengiz.
Cengiz reportedly waited for Khashoggi outside of the consulate for roughly 11 hours, but said he never came out. Khashoggi is now feared dead, but his fiance on Saturday tweeted, “Jamal is not dead. I cannot believe that he has been killed.”
Details surrounding Khashoggi’s disappearance remain hazy, but here’s what we know so far.
Who is Jamal Khashoggi?
Khashoggi is a prominent journalist who has often been critical of the Saudi Arabian government. He’s written for The Washington Post global opinion section.
Karen Attiah, who’s Khashoggi’s editor at The Post, told CNN on Sunday: “We’re still hoping for the best, but of course this news, if true, has us all completely devastated. This is an attack on us as well at The Washington Post.
Khashoggi was at one point an adviser to senior officials in the Saudi government and worked for top news outlets in his native country, and was long seen as close to the ruling elite there.
But last year Khashoggi had a falling-out with the government over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s controversial tactics as he’s worked to consolidate his power, which has involved arresting powerful business executives and members of the royal family. Ultimately, this drove Khashoggi to leave Saudi Arabia for the US. Since that time, the reporter has been quite critical of the government and the prince.
In recent months, Khashoggi reportedly told colleagues he feared for his life.
What Saudi Arabia has said about Khashoggi’s disappearance
Saudi officials claim Khashoggi left the consulate, but haven’t provided any definitive proof.
“Mr. Khashoggi visited the consulate to request paperwork related to his marital status and exited shortly thereafter,” an unnamed Saudi official told The New York Times.
The Saudi Arabian government has vehemently denied allegations the reporter was murdered. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last Wednesday told Bloomberg News that Turkish authorities were welcome to search the consulate, adding, “We have nothing to hide.”
The prince also said, “He’s a Saudi citizen and we are very keen to know what happened to him. And we will continue our dialogue with the Turkish government to see what happened to Jamal there.”
When asked if there were any charges against Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia, the prince said, “Actually, we need to know where Jamal is first.”
The Saudi ambassador to the US on Sunday told The Washington Post it would be “impossible” for consulate employees to murder Khashoggi “and we wouldn’t know about it.”
What Turkey has said about Khashoggi’s disappearance
The Turkish government is accusing the Saudis of killing Khashoggi, claiming there’s no evidence he ever left the consulate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday demanded Saudi officials provide proof Khashoggi left the consulate in Istanbul.
“Do you not have cameras and everything of the sort?” Erdogan said of the consulate. “They have all of them. Then why do you not prove this? You need to prove it.”
Turkish officials allege the Saudi government sent a 15-man team specifically flown in to Istanbul to murder Khashoggi on the premises of the consulate.
According to The Washington Post, a US official said Turkish investigators believe Khashoggi was probably killed, dismembered, and his body was subsequently placed in boxes and flown out of the country.
Turkey hasn’t made any evidence public as of yet.
What the Trump administration has said about Khashoggi’s disappearance
The White House’s comments on this matter have so far been limited, but President Donald Trump on Monday did tell reporters he’s ” target=”_blank”concerned about it” and said he didn’t like it.
“I don’t like hearing about it. Hopefully that will sort itself out,” Trump said. “Right now nobody knows anything about it, but there’s some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it.”
The Trump administration has a close relationship with the Saudis and US-Turkey relations have been strained in recent months over the imprisonment of an American pastor, which the president has been critical of. In this context, the White House might be reluctant to get entangled in this controversy.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly monitoring the situation closely, but the State Department has so far avoided addressing the situation in detail.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.
Meanwhile, UN experts on Tuesday called for an independent and international investigation into the case.
“We are concerned that the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi is directly linked to his criticism of Saudi policies in recent years,” the experts said in a statement. “We reiterate our repeated calls on the Saudi authorities to open the space for the exercise of fundamental rights, including the right to life and of expression and dissent.”