ISTANBUL – 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.
Amid rising concerns about the whereabouts of the journalist, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi had left the consulate safely, implying that the Turkish leader was not satisfied with Saudi explanations.
‘Is it possible there were no camera systems in a consulate, in an embassy? If a bird flew, or a fly or a mosquito appeared, the systems would capture this; they [Saudi Arabia] have the most cutting-edge systems,’ he was quoted as saying.
On the other hand, the consulate said CCTV cameras were not functional that day, dismissing the murder claims as baseless.
Khashoggi’s case is also threatening the strong relationship the Trump administration has built with Prince Mohammed in a brief period of time.
The two sides have worked together in confronting Iran and building economic ties with MBS desirous of turning the oil-rich kingdom into a hub for innovation and reform.