Turkey calls in Saudi envoy over missing journalist case

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman has brushed off comments made by US President Donald Trump that Washington is "subsidizing" the kingdom's military, insisting that the kingdom has always paid for armaments from the US. Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for an explanation over the incident, while Saudi officials announced they were coordinating with Turkish authorities about the circumstances of his disappearance.

If Saudi Arabia had detained Khashoggi without acknowledging it, his detention would constitute an enforced disappearance, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

However, the Arab source that spoke to Al Akhbar said Khashoggi had been taken out of another entrance to the consulate in a white vehicle in coordination with a Turkish security official. His friends said police officers reviewed video surveillance in the area and didn't Khashoggi leave the embassy.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country will privatise more than 20 companies in 2019, helping the government's strategy to diversify revenues away from oil.

Saudi Arabia is now pumping about 10.7 million barrels a day - close to a record - and can add a further 1.3 million "if the market needs that", the prince said. Meanwhile, a Saudi official quoted by Reuters claimed that Khashoggi was "not in the consulate nor in Saudi custody".

The State Department said it was aware of Khashoggi's disappearance and was seeking more information.

More news: Adultery is not a crime, Section 497 of IPC unconstitutional: SC

Prince Mohammed said the kingdom was "keen to know what happened to him" and said an investigation had been launched. In fact, President Trump chose to visit Saudi Arabia for his maiden global trip as president past year.

Notably, Khashoggi would not be the only Gulf national to have been arrested overseas to be returned to the kingdom, and other incidents have been far more public.

He is one of the most prominent critics of the crown prince, who has unveiled reforms praised by the West while carrying out an apparent crackdown on dissent, which has seen human and women's rights activists, intellectuals and clerics arrested, and waging a war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

In the coming days, Saudi government statements will be important in indicating what has happened to Khashoggi and whether Saudi policies towards dissidents overseas may have become more interventionist.

"Ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we've bought everything with money".

Saudi Arabia is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, a few places behind Turkey.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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