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Turkish police probe ‘acid’ claim on Khashoggi’s disappearance

16 October, 2018, 21:57 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Kelsey Quayles car headed west on a road in the Atlanta suburb of Riverdale before it suddenly drifted into on-coming traffic and hit two cars head-on

Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who lived in self-imposed exile, is reported missing after he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

But Riyadh vowed to hit back on Sunday against any punitive measures as its stock market tumbled, with the fallout from the crisis threatening to imperil Prince Mohammed's much-hyped economic reform drive.

While crude prices rose nearly 2 percent after Saudi Arabia pledged to retaliate and said it had an "influential and vital role in the global economy", it's far from certain that it will use energy as a weapon.

Britain, France and Germany released a rare joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi's disappearance "with the utmost seriousness" and calling for a "credible investigation".

The company did not elaborate on the reasons for Ford's decision not to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi - a US resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies - were a factor.

If Turkey's accounting of the incident is true, Prince Mohammed would have to trust that not only Turkey but also the United States are so reluctant to call him to task that they'd help him dodge the allegations, said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A Saudi flag flutters atop Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 12, 2018.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the US economically.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents almost two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this.

Khashoggi has been a U.S. resident since he went into self-imposed exile in 2017 over fear he could be arrested in Saudi Arabia.

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The search represents new co-operation between Turkey, which says it fears Khashoggi was killed and dismembered there, and Saudi Arabia, which maintains the allegations it faces are "baseless" despite being unable to explain what happened to Khashoggi.

On Monday, Trump tweeted that he "just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen.' He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer".

The king thanked Erdogan for welcoming a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance and said no one could undermine their relationship.

Citing two unidentified sources, CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that would acknowledge Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong. "When the president warns, people should take him at his word".

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building. "He (Trump) will take action".

This statement came after the Saudi stock market plunged by almost 7 percent at one point on Sunday. By close, it had recovered some losses, ending down 3.5 percent and losing $16.5 billion of market value.

"While Saudi Arabia hasn't used politics in recent years, its Crown Prince - like President Trump - isn't an ordinary politician and it's unclear how he'll react going forward".

Read | What's known about Saudi writer's disappearance?

"The withdrawal of top participants from the Riyadh investment conference has also negatively impacted traders' sentiment", he told AFP.

But in response to Khashoggi's disappearance, media organizations and a growing number of executives have pulled out of a Riyadh investment conference scheduled for next week, dubbed "Davos in the Desert".

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