ANKARA, Oct 9, (RTRS): Saudi Arabian officials invited Turkish experts and related officials to visit its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey’s state-owned news agency Anadolu said on Tuesday, following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi a week ago.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said a search would be conducted there, while the United Nations human rights office urged both countries to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance. Khashoggi entered the consulate last Tuesday and has not been heard of or seen since, his fiancée and friends say. Turkish officials told Reuters at the weekend they believed he had been killed inside the Saudi consulate.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the investigation was “continuing intensively”, and that the Vienna Convention allowed for consulates to be searched by the authorities of the host country with the consent of the mission chief. “The consulate building will be searched in the framework of the investigation,” Aksoy said in a written statement.
There was no immediate comment on the report from the Saudi authorities. The United Nations human rights office voiced deep concern on Tuesday at the “apparent enforced disappearance” and possible murder of Khashoggi and urged the two countries to investigate. “We call for cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance and to make the findings public,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a Geneva news briefing.
The two countries have such an obligation under both criminal law and international human rights law, she said. Khashoggi was previously a prominent newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and an adviser to a former head of intelligence. His disappearance has sparked global concerns, particularly after Turkish sources said over the weekend that authorities believed he had been killed inside the consulate.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked Riyadh to prove its claim that Khashoggi had left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while Washington urged Saudi Arabia to support an investigation into his disappearance. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he has not yet spoken with Saudi Arabian officials about the disappearance Khashoggi, who went missing a week ago.
Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said he does not know anything about Khashoggi’s disapemergpearance and that he would speak with Saudi officials at some point about the situation. Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt called on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi.
The disappearance of Khashoggi has sparked global concern. “Just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers over Khashoggi,” Hunt said on Twitter on Tuesday. “Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously — friendships depend on shared values.”