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US Calls for ‘Thorough’ Probe Into Missing Saudi Journalist

US Calls for ‘Thorough’ Probe Into Missing Saudi Journalist

Turkey also said on Tuesday that it will search the consulate as part of an investigation into the disappearance of the Saudi contributor to The Washington Post. The Post said "a person close to the investigation" shared the image with them. Separately, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman, Hami Aksoy, says Saudi Arabian officials have notified Ankara they were "open to cooperation".

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on October 9 invited Turkish experts and relevant officials to visit its Istanbul consulate.

A senior Turkish police source told Middle East Eye that police believed that Khashoggi was "brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces" inside the consulate after visiting the building on October 2.

Dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, 58, has been missing since last Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage.

On Wednesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News that Turkish authorities were welcome to search the building because "we have nothing to hide". "We don't have any information on that", spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters adding: "We don't want to make any judgments about what happened".

According to pro-government daily Sabah, the team arrived in Istanbul on two private planes, one which landed after 0300H (0000 GMT) on Tuesday while the second plane landed around 1700H (1400 GMT) after Khashoggi entered the consulate. Erdogan has said he would await the results of an investigation. He had been living since previous year in the United States, in self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has shown little tolerance for criticism.

In recent days, Americans lawmakers from across the political spectrum have warned the affair could harm US-Saudi relations.

The U.S. State Department is looking into accusations that Saudi Arabia was involved in the alleged murder of Khashoggi.

It's been nearly a week since a prominent Saudi journalist vanished after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

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His disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius recently noted that his friend Khashoggi had endured a crisis of conscience a year ago when MBS was jailing and torturing his Saudi friends.

The newspaper also claimed that Turkish employees at the residence were "hastily" told to take a holiday on the day Khashoggi went missing.

"I don't think I will be able to go home", he said, when asked whether he thought he could return to Saudi Arabia.

A friend of the columnist also revealed that Khashoggi's encrypted messages had been read after he vanished. "Hopefully that will sort itself out", the president added.

The source said that after entering the embassy Khashoggi was taken in a black Mercedes S-500 and a white minivan with four Saudi officials to Istanbul airport.

He moved to the United States more than a year ago, where he continued his commentary about his country both in print and on television. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted Sunday that if "deeply disturbing" reports of Khashoggi's murder were confirmed, "The United States and the civilized world must respond strongly, and I will review all options in Senate".

Analysts said the Trump administration felt obliged to speak out on Khashoggi after rising attention from the media and especially on Capitol Hill, where prominent lawmakers on both sides have voiced outrage over the journalist's detention or possible killing.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Riyadh must provide "honest answers" to the claims that he was murdered.


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