Turkish investigators examine Saudi consulate in Istanbul for second time

Anna Jefferson
October 18, 2018

Last week, another Turkish daily had published preliminary evidence last week from investigators who it said had identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

Jamal Khashoggi in Bahrain in 2015.

Several US media outlets said Monday that the Saudis are preparing a report that Khashoggi's death resulted from a botched interrogation.

But Trump has slow-pedaled on the possibility of action against Saudi Arabia, which he has repeatedly praised as a historic customer for the United States weapons industry, at one point suggesting "rogue killers" could be to blame for Khashoggi's disappearance.

A spokesperson for Hyperloop One said the company "did not have a contract signed nor have we been notified that the contract is cancelled", adding that they have asked the paper to publish a correction.

"They're going to do an investigation, and when the investigation comes out we'll evaluate it", Pompeo told reporters travelling with him. "They didn't want to either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way". "We'll evaluate this on a factual, straight up basis".

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Trump said he would get a "full report" from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his return from meetings with Saudi leaders and then know the truth of what occurred.

Saudi Arabia's green national flag flapped overhead as forensics teams walked into the residence, only 2 kilometres from the consulate where Khashoggi vanished October 2 while trying to pick up paperwork to get married.

In Turkey on Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told AP that police investigators searching the Saudi Consulate had found evidence that Khashoggi was killed there.

Earlier Wednesday, he told Fox Business that the USA relies on the kingdom to fight terrorism.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner. In August, US officials hailed the Saudi pledge and said the United States would use US$230 million earmarked to help stabilise Syria for other purposes. Flying back home, Pompeo remained positive about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, but stressed answers need to come soon. His spokesperson later clarified he has not heard any tapes.

Turkish sources have told Reuters the authorities have an audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

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Trump described Saudi Arabia as an ally, which is not only important strategically, but also from the perspective of business and economy.

"Those are important elements of USA national policy that are in American's best interest and we just need to make sure that we are mindful of that as we approach decisions that the United States government will take when we learn all of the facts associated with whatever may have taken place", Pompeo said. "That's going to be the first question I ask", he said.

Almutawakel runs the best-known human rights organization in Yemen, where a USA -backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been battling an Iran-linked rebel group since 2015. That is a big factor in my eyes.

Khashoggi was a US resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post and he was critical of the Saudi government, calling for reforms. "Saudi Arabia, if you're listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself".

Even if an investigation into what happened to Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul exonerates the prince and the top Saudi leadership, the administration's deep reliance on him will be severely tested not least because of broad bipartisan revulsion in Congress to as-yet unconfirmed accounts of Khashoggi's fate.

Despite that, Pompeo reported that President Erdogan felt the Saudis have been cooperative, and the two countries will share information.

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