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Turkey summons Saudi ambassador over dissident journalist’s disappearance

Jamal Khashoggi / AFP PHOTOS

Turkey’s foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador for consultations over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Reuters reported, citing Turkish sources.

They said the Saudi envoy was called in to clarify the whereabouts of Khashoggi, a critic of Riyadh’s foreign policy and its crackdown on dissent who left Saudi Arabia last year saying he feared retribution for his views.

“Yesterday the Saudi ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry and the issue of Khashoggi was discussed,” one of the sources said. “Efforts are being made to clarify allegations about Khashoggi. We believe a positive outcome will emerge.”

“Since yesterday, contacts have been continuing between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overcome the problem related to Khashoggi,” the source said.

The envoy claimed that the kingdom had no information about the reporter’s disappearance and that the consulate was looking into the matter, according to The Independent.

Turkish broadcaster NTV reported that the ambassador also said during talks at the ministry that he would let officials know once he obtained information.

Khashoggi’s fiancée and a close friend said he vanished after entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in Istanbul said in a statement on Wednesday that Khashoggi had left the consulate building shortly after his appointment on Tuesday.

It said the consulate was working with Turkish authorities “to uncover the circumstances” of his disappearance. No one at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Ankara was available to comment on Thursday and an official at the consulate, asked about the envoy’s summons, referred back to the statement.

Khashoggi’s disappearance could complicate already fraught ties between Ankara and Riyadh. Turkey has supported the Gulf state of Qatar in its prolonged standoff with Saudi Arabia and its allies, sending troops to Qatar last year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman said on Wednesday Turkey believed Khashoggi was still inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, challenging the Saudi account.

Turkey has avoided public criticism of Saudi Arabia, a regional economic power due to its oil wealth and home of Islam’s two holiest shrines.

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