Self-exiled Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate and apparently never walking back out.
Turkish authorities suspect Khashoggi was murdered while inside the building, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he is now personally involved in the case, the BBC reported.
What are the details?
Khashoggi has been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, causing him to leave his home country last year to live in exile in the United States. He visited the consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain documentation to finalize his divorce; his Turkish fiancée waited for him outside the building, and reported him missing after he didn’t return.
A Turkish police source told the Middle East Eye that officials believe Khashoggi was “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces” while inside the consulate.
“Our security officials are investigating the issue in every detail,” Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Erdogan, told CNN Turk on Sunday. “We have some concrete information, it won’t be an unresolved crime,” the Middle East Eye reported.
Aktay went on to say Turkish authorities believe a group of 15 Saudi nationals were “most certainly involved” in the journalist’s disappearance. Flight records reportedly show the group flew into Istanbul on two private flights Tuesday, and the delegation was at the consulate at the same time as Khashoggi. The 15 nationals flew out the same day.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud told Bloomberg on Friday that Khashoggi was not in the consulate, and his country is investigating. Salman said Turkish officials were welcome to search the building, insisting, “We have nothing to hide.”
The Saudi consulate in Istanbul issued a statement Sunday, saying reports that Khashoggi was murdered inside the building were “baseless allegations.”
Speaking from Ankara the same day, Erdogan said, “As president, I am pursuing. We’re waiting for the prosecutor’s statement. My expectation is still well-meant. I hope we won’t encounter an undesirable situation.”
Responding to the situation over the weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted, “I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive. But if this deeply disturbing news report is confirmed, the United States & the civilized world must respond strongly, and I will review all options in Senate.”
I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive. But if this deeply disturbing news report is confirmed, the United States & the civilized world must respond strongly, and I will review all options in Senate. https://t.co/LzrKiRveRp
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) October 7, 2018
David Rohde, executive editor of The New Yorker tweeted out, “The journalist Jamal Khashoggi had said that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has ‘no tolerance or willingness to accommodate critics.'”
— David Rohde (@RohdeD) October 8, 2018
But Khashoggi’s fiancée is reportedly holding out hope, tweeting in Arabic late Saturday and translated by the Middle East Eye, “Jamal was not killed, and I don’t believe that he was killed,” the fiancée said.