Turkey expects results of Saudi Journalist, Khashoggi, probe ‘soon’

Jamal Khashoggi (Photo Credit: The Independent)
Jamal Khashoggi (Photo Credit: The Independent)

The Turkish Government expects to see the results of an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi soon, Justice Minister, Abdulhamit Gul, said on Thursday, more than two weeks after the Saudi journalist went missing.

“We all expect the probe to be concluded as soon as possible,’’ Mr Gul told state news agency, Anadolu, characterising the investigation as “very careful and successful”.

Turkey will do “whatever the international law requires,’’ he added but declined to comment on the nature of the probe.

Mr Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he had gone to pick up papers so he could marry his Turkish fiancée.

It was not immediately clear when Turkey would release the results of the investigation.

A team concluded its search of the Saudi consulate and the consul’s residence early Thursday.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office said they could release details during the course of the probe “if necessary,’’ according to Anadolu.

Turkish officials told the media that the Washington Post columnist was murdered inside the consulate.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.

Mr Gul urged people to ignore leaks regarding the Khashoggi case on social media and elsewhere.

However, leaked information continues to appear in pro-government media outlets, including images and the names of alleged hitmen.

Anadolu on Thursday published an article accusing the Saudi leadership of failing to cooperate with Ankara on the probe and raised questions on the lack of surveillance video recordings.

It also speculated that the Saudis are preparing to “confess” to the alleged assassination of Mr Khashoggi.

Turkish officials earlier confirmed that 15 Saudi citizens entered the consulate building on October 2, minutes after Khashoggi.

It remains unclear why the 15 people, some of them identified as senior Saudi soldiers and forensic experts by Anadolu, were there.

The Sabah Daily published images from surveillance video at the Saudi consulate and the consul general’s residence, showing Maher Mutreb walking into the Saudi consulate.

The report identified him as the alleged head of the 15-man “execution squad”.

Anadolu news agency showed footage of forensic teams carrying in bags and boxes what it said was evidence collected from the consul’s residence.

The team entered the residence late on Wednesday, a day after Saudi Arabia’s consul general in Istanbul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, left Turkey on a commercial flight.

The search by the Turkish team, accompanied by Saudi officials, took nine hours at the residence, while the teams conducted a second search at the nearby consulate building in Istanbul’s Levent district, Anadolu reported.

The searches come a day after U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, met Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusogluon, in Ankara.

Mr Pompeo had met with the Saudi leadership on Tuesday in Riyadh to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Mr Pompeo is due to brief U.S. President Donald Trump on the Khashoggi case at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

In the wake of Khashoggi’s disappearance, several high-profile U.S. media companies, including CNN, CNBC, the New York Times, the Economist and Financial Times, have pulled their sponsorship from Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh later this month.

The heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund pulled out, too, along with business leaders including Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan and Bill Ford of Ford Motor.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is expected to announce as early as Thursday, whether he would join the slew business leaders and politicians in skipping the conference in Riyadh, a showcase event for the government.

Similarly, a suspect involved in the disappearance of Saudi journalist, Khashoggi, died in a car accident in Saudi’s capital of Riyadh, Turkish media reported on Thursday.

Meshal Saad al-Bostani, who was one of the 15 suspects arrived and left the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul when Khashoggi visited there on Oct. 2, “died in a traffic accident in Riyadh,’’ according to pro-government daily, Yeni Safak.

The report said sources did not give any details about the traffic accident in Riyadh.

This case is attracting worldwide concern.

(Xinhua/NAN)


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