Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has welcomed Turkey to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following the disapperance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi who entered the mission earlier this week.
In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg, published on Friday, bin Salman said Saudi Arabia is “very keen to know what happened” to the Saudi citizen, adding “we have nothing to hide”.
Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident critical of the country’s crown prince, entered the consulate’s premises on Tuesday in what seemed to be a routine visit to sort out paperwork, before disappearing.
“We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises,” bin Salman told Bloomberg.
“The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them,” the 33-year-old crown prince said.
Washington Post columnist was last seen entering his country’s consulate in Istanbul, his fiancee says
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, has disappeared after visiting his country’s consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday, according to his fiancee.
“He entered at 1pm [11am BST] and hasn’t surfaced since then. I have no media statements to make at this point, but I have contacted Turkish authorities for help,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, who did not want to be identified by name, said.
According to the fiancee, Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, but was asked to return on Tuesday to complete an application related to family matters, according to Arabi21 news website.
The fiancee, who is a Turkish citizen, said he entered the consulate’s Saudi nationals section, while she waited for him at the foreigners’ hall for several hours until the consulate closed. The consulate’s hours of operation are 9am to 3pm.
Turkish and Saudi authorities, including the Istanbul consulate and the Saudi Embassy in Washington, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to a Reuters report.
Khashoggi, 59, is a former editor-in-chief of Saudi newspapers al-Arab and Watan. He previously served as the media advisor to Prince Turki al-Faisal during his tenure as ambassador in London and Washington.
The seasoned journalist studied at Indiana State University and has been based in Washington DC since he fled Saudi Arabia in 2017 over fears of the new government’s crackdown on critical voices.
Khashoggi is considered a Saudi nationalist, and before leaving Saudi Arabia in September 2017, he was seen as close to the royal court.