Turkey to search Saudi consulate in missing journalist case


Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to conduct a joint "inspection" on Monday of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, almost two weeks after the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish authorities said.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and United States permanent resident whose writings have been critical of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been missing since entering the country's consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.

He added that Saudi Arabia will not hesitate to form a joint investigation committee with Turkey to uncover the truth.

A report published recently by a University of Toronto lab concluded that Saudi authorities were "very likely" responsible for hacking his phone with powerful spyware sold only to governments.

A Saudi money changer displays Saudi Riyal banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia July 27, 2017.

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Saudi Arabia dismissed threats of sanctions the following day and vowed the oil-rich kingdom would retaliate against such action.

"It would lead to Saudi Arabia's failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels".

Already, global business leaders are pulling out of the kingdom's upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as "Davos in the Desert", and the sell-off on Riyadh's Tadawul stock exchange showed that investors are uneasy.

Media organizations and a growing number of executives, including JP Morgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon, have pulled out of a major Riyadh investment conference scheduled for next week, dubbed "Davos in the Desert". At the moment Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to keep his own plans to attend - though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says they're evaluating the situation closely.

US senators called for reactions ranging from boycotting an upcoming economic summit in Riyadh to ending support for Saudi military operations in Yemen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told CNN on Sunday.

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Fellow Republican, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, appearing on "This Week", called for "severe action" which he said would affect arms sales and involvement in Yemen.

Oil futures were up and Saudi Arabian stock market was down early Monday over rising insecurity in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. The market clawed back some of the losses, trading down over 4 percent later on. The act has in the past imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

The crisis has polarized Saudis, with some blaming the nation's enemies and others concerned about the direction the country is heading under Prince Mohammed.

Turkish sources have told Reuters the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been deliberately killed inside the consulate. The kingdom has called such allegations "baseless" but has not offered any evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate. There is no alternative to carrying out this inspection.

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