Turkey, US mount pressure on Saudis to explain journalist Khashoggi’s fate

Turkey, US mount pressure on Saudis to explain journalist Khashoggi’s fate

Istanbul (Agencies): Turkey and the United States have mounted pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain the mysterious disappearance of a journalist who after entering its Istanbul consulate last week was not seen anywhere.

President Donald Trump has also declared that he ‘had to find out what happened’ amid concerns that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was against the policies of the Saudi regime.

The Washington Post has already stirred a controversy by claiming that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered an operation to ‘lure’ the critical journalist back home.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler had already ordered an operation targeting journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for more than a week, The Washington Post reported citing US intelligence intercepts.

Khashoggi, a US resident and one of the more outspoken critics of the regime of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and Turkish officials suspect he was murdered.

The Post, a newspaper to which Khashoggi contributed, cited unnamed US officials as saying that Saudi officials had been heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the US state of Virginia, where he resided, and detain him.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino earlier insisted that the United States had no forewarning of any concrete threat to Khashoggi.

“Although I can’t go into intelligence matters, I can definitively say that we had no knowledge in advance of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance,” Palladino told reporters.

The case has sparked outrage from human rights and journalism groups and threatens to harm ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States, which has demanded answers from the kingdom over the disappearance.