Turkey steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia over missing journalist

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"It is known that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi holds an "A" permit and a special visa for those who have exceptional privileges to enter the United States and work in its institutions and territories, which makes it a humanitarian and moral responsibility for the government of President Donald Trump to follow up the matter and investigate the facts", she said.

Asked about a Washington Post report that USA intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi, Trump said, "It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then had a follow-up call with the crown prince to reiterate the USA request for information and a thorough, transparent investigation. Ali Bakeer, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, told Daily Sabah that if the Saudis are responsible for killing or kidnapping Khashoggi, and the available evidence until now points to them, then this "barbaric" act should be met with a strong response not only from Turkey but also from the global community and the U.S.in particular.

On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert addressed the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi - said the State Department would welcome a "thorough" investigation.

A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance. "We have incredible people and incredible talent working on it". "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened".

Khashoggi had entered the consulate at the time to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. You know, we have to see what happens.

"And we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey, and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country was anxious about Khashoggi's disappearance.

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"We are very very disturbed" by Khashoggi's disappearance", said Code Pink founder Meda Benjamin.

If evidence implicates the Saudi Government in Khashoggi's disappearance or death, it would indicate a new level of violence that authorities are willing to undertake to silence criticism of the crown prince, whose jailing of opponents at home has undercut his efforts to fashion himself as a moderniser of his conservative kingdom. The reports did not cite a source and there was no official confirmation. Speaking with "Fox News @ Night" Wednesday night, Trump warned such a move "would be hurting us".

"What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government", Branson said in a statement.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has also spoken out on the Khashoggi case, saying that if reports of his murder are true, it should "represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia".

One Turkish security official told The New York Times that within two hours of his arriving at the consulate, Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered with a bone saw that the Saudi team had brought. "I don't know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey", she wrote in an emotional piece in the Washington Post. The Saudi government has dismissed that allegation.

Trump made Saudi Arabia his first foreign stop as president but in recent weeks has appeared to sour a bit on Riyadh, complaining about the cost of American support for the Saudi military and about oil price increases. When asked if he would consider blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Trump said that would hurt the United States, citing such deals as a big part of a booming US economy.

Republican Senator Rand Paul also said this week that he would attempt to force a vote in the Senate blocking United States arms sales to Saudi Arabia, if the reports about Khashoggi's disappearance prove true. According to some reports, Ankara is considering the options of recalling its ambassador from Riyadh and expelling the Saudi envoy if the Saudis fail to provide a satisfactory explanation on Khashoggi's fate "within several days".