Saudi Arabia denies journalist killed at consulate in Turkey

A man enters the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday

Turkish authorities are examining motorway cameras in the search for a black van they believe carried the body of Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week - one of six cars investigators say belonged to a Saudi hit squad thought to be behind the suspected murder of the dissident journalist.

A Turkish official told the AP late Saturday that an "initial assessment" by police concluded Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate. He had been living since a year ago in the U.S.in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. It goes without saying that his family in the Kingdom remain gravely concerned about him, and so are we.

As a contributor to the Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticising its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

He said police were examining CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and Istanbul airport.

"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises", he said.

Khashoggi had gone to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Khashoggi is a critic of the Saudi regime.

Khashoggi spent past year in the United States in self-imposed exile, after he fled the kingdom amid a crackdown on intellectuals and activists who questioned the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The newspaper said "a person close to the investigation" had shared the image with them. "The consulate officials can not save themselves by simply saying 'he has left, '" the Turkish president added. "It has been conveyed to him that we expect full coordination in the investigation process", the official said. "We have nothing to hide".

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Turkey sought permission Monday from Saudi Arabia to search Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, looking for clues to the disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist whom Turkish officials have concluded was murdered inside the diplomatic outpost.

MBS, as the crown prince is known, has been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the 21st century.

"[The] Saudi authorities said they were open to cooperation and that a search can be conducted at the consulate building", the ministry's spokesperson, Hami Aksoy, said in a statement, adding that the search will be conducted in "an intensive manner". He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

Almost a week since Khashoggi disappeared, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his calls for Riyadh to explain what happened to the high-profile critic of the Saudi leadership.

"What we do care about is Jamal's well-being and revealing the truth about what occurred", the ambassador said.

Yasin Aktay, who advises Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in his ruling AK Party, told Reuters that Turkish authorities believed a group of 15 Saudi nationals were "most certainly involved" in the matter, and added that statements by Saudi officials on the absence of camera records were not honest.

"This will be a file between Saudi Arabia and us", the Turkish official warned.

Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince's brother, echoed these comments in a statement, adding that his country has sent a security team, with Turkey's approval, to assist in the investigation.

"And that happened", the crown prince told Bloomberg on Friday in a wide-ranging interview.

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