Turkey’s foreign ministry on Thursday summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to seek his explanation on the disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, above, after he entered the consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Khashoggi’s personal website bore a banner saying ‘Jamal has been arrested at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul!’
He used to write columns in The Washington Post attacking the so-called ‘reforms’ of the kingdom’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Turkey’s summons to ambassador Walid bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji came after the Saudi Consulate insisted that Khashoggi left its building before his disappearance.
Turkish officials believe the writer is still inside the consulate. The two surveillance cameras installed outside the consulate showed Khashoggi entering the building but never leaving.
Nothing has been heard from him after he entered the consulate to get some paperwork he needed before marrying his Turkish fiancée Hatice next week. He left his mobile phone with Hatice outside the consulate as Middle East embassies do not let in visitors with phones as a security measure.
Hatice waited outside the consulate until closure time and contacted Khashoggi’s friends when he failed to return.
Al-Khuraiji told official Saudi news agency SPA that the consulate is working with Turkish authorities to shed light on the circumstances leading to the journalist’s disappearance.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Hatice contacted Turkish authorities after she found him missing.
The Washington Post‘s international opinions editor Eli Lopez said it would be unfair if Khashoggi has been detained for his work as a journalist and commentator.
The International Press Institute in Vienna has written a letter to Saudi King Salman seeking his intervention in the case.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was deeply concerned about Khashoggi and urged Saudi authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts.
The US State Department said it is aware of Khashoggi’s disappearance and is seeking more information.
Khashoggi has been living in a self-imposed exile in the US after the ascension of Prince Mohammad.
His disappearance is likely to further deteriorate ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey has supported Qatar ignoring the boycott by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over a political dispute.