Turkey investigates claims that Saudis killed journalist

FILE- Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland on Saturday Jan. 29 2011

The spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party vowed that authorities would uncover the whereabouts of Khashoggi and the details of his disappearance, saying the case was highly sensitive for Turkey.

In a statement, The Post said it would be a "monstrous and unfathomable act" if the reports of the murder are true.

Saudi officials have denied allegations that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, calling them "baseless".

After that the agency tweeted in correction: "The Saudi security delegation arrived Sunday at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, days after journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared".

Turkish investigators believe a prominent Saudi journalist who contributed to The Washington Post was killed in "a preplanned murder" at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, the Post reported Saturday night, citing two anonymous officials.

Yasin Aktay, who advises Erdogan in his ruling AK Party, also 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.

Khashoggi, a contributor to the Post who has been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after an appointment with Saudi officials on Tuesday at the consulate in Istanbul.

What's next: Erdogan's statement today suggests he is not keen on escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia - at least for now - and that Ankara is inclined to await the official outcome of the probe into Khashoggi's disappearance before making a decisive diplomatic move.

The organization wrote that Saudi Arabia "channels funds to media organizations all over the world" including the United Kingdom - and that the funding usually takes the form of outright donations or the buying up of thousands of subscriptions, as was the case when a struggling Lebanese TV network adopted a pro-Saudi editorial policy after taking a $2 million bailout from Riyadh.

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Khashoggi went to the consulate to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancée. "But at the same time, the brash and abrasive young innovator has not encouraged or permitted any popular debate in Saudi Arabia about the nature of his many changes", he wrote.

"It is very, very upsetting for us that it happened in our country", he said.

Turkish officials told Reuters over the weekend that they believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate, and President Tayyip Erdogan said he was closely following the case.

The team will assist in the investigation into the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi. "We have nothing to hide", Prince Salman said in an interview published on Friday.

Trump and his administration have not commented on the fate of Khashoggi, whom Saudi Arabia insists left the consulate. "Those who ask Turkish authorities where he is should ask them (Saudi officials) what happened".

A Turkish official said the Saudi ambassador met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Sunday at the ministry.

In his writings for the Washington Post, the Saudi commentator criticised Saudi policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen and the crackdown on dissent and the media in the kingdom.

The consulate rejected the claims that the journalist was killed there as "baseless", in a Twitter message.

"He said they were really good; there are just ordinary Saudis and the ordinary Saudis are good people; they don't necessarily agree with the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman".

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