Turkey: Erdogan discusses Khashoggi case with Saudi King

15th Oct 2018
Turkey: Erdogan discusses Khashoggi case with Saudi King

By Merve Yildizalp

ANKARA (AA) – In a Sunday night phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz discussed the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan stressed forming a joint working group to probe the case, said a Turkish presidential source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, has gone missing since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

On that same day 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the building while Khashoggi was also inside, Turkish police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of Khashoggi’s fate, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K — are pressing for the case to be cleared up as soon as possible.

On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Riyadh with “severe punishment” if Khashoggi has been murdered.

“The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations,” the official SPA news agency quoted an official source as saying.

“The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action,” the source added.

[A view of the Saudi consulate as the waiting continues on the disappearance of Prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey on October 12, 2018. ( İsa Terli – Anadolu Agency )]

In a joint statement, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany appealed on Sunday to Saudi Arabia “to provide a complete and detailed response” to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France. In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose family has lost contact with him since October 2nd.

“Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.

“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities.”

Underlining a shared “grave concern” also expressed by others, including EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the statement said they “are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness.”

“There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account,” it said.

“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response,” the statement said.

“We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities,” it added.

Saudi Arabia has denied it had kidnapped Khashoggi.

[Photo: Jamal Khashoggi. Photo credit: April Brady/Project on Middle East Democracy/ Creative Commons]

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