Erdogan asks Riyadh to 'prove' journalist left consulate

BUDAPEST - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked Saudi officials to prove their claim that missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"Consulate officials cannot save themselves by saying that he left the building... Don't you have camera?" Erdogan told a news conference. "If he left, you have to prove it with footage. Those who ask Turkish authorities where he is should ask what happened."

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished last Tuesday after entering the consulate to receive official documents ahead of his marriage to a Turkish woman.

Police said at the weekend that around 15 Saudis, including officials, arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi.

A Turkish government source had told AFP that the police believe the journalist "was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day". Riyadh vehemently denies the claim and says Khashoggi left the consulate.

Turkey on Monday sought permission to search the consulate premises, Turkish TV reported.

The move came after the foreign ministry summoned theSaudi ambassador for a second time Sunday over the journalist's disappearance. Erdogan said Turkish police and intelligence had been mobilised to investigate the case.

"The airport exit and departure are being examined. There are people who came from Saudi Arabia," he said. "The chief prosecutor's office is investigating the issue."

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt