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Turkey 'asks to search' Saudi consulate over missing journalist

AFP  |  Ankara 

sought permission Monday to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in after a from the kingdom went missing last week, said, amid claims he was murdered.

asked to search the consulate where contributor vanished last Tuesday after entering the building, Turkish NTV broadcaster reported.

A source at the weekend said the 59-year-old had been killed. vehemently denied the claim and said Khashoggi had left the consulate.

Ankara's was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi for a second time Sunday over the journalist's disappearance.

A Turkish diplomatic source confirmed Monday that the Saudi had met

"The was told that we expected full cooperation during the investigation," the source said. The was first summoned to the ministry on Wednesday.

Protesters gathered outside the on Monday with banners reading, "We will not leave without Jamal Khashoggi", demanding to know what had happened to the

Yemeni activist and 2011 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkol Karman, said it would be an "awful crime" if the claims of his death were true.

"Killing him is like killing us. This policy is just a terror policy. There's no difference between the state terror and other terror actions," she added.

Khashoggi went to the consulate to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. quickly said he never left the building as there was no security footage on his departure.

The consulate rejected the claims that the was killed there as "baseless".

Saudi Crown previously told that was "ready to welcome the to go and search our premises", which is Saudi sovereign territory.

"We will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them. We have nothing to hide," Salman said in an interview published on Friday.

Khashoggi had been critical of some of the crown prince's policies and Riyadh's intervention in the war in in Arab and Western media.

He once compared the 33-year-old to Russian in a column for in November 2017.

"As of now, I would say is acting like Putin. He is imposing very selective justice. The crackdown on even the most constructive criticism - the demand for complete loyalty with a significant 'or else' - remains a serious challenge to the crown prince's desire to be seen as a modern, enlightened leader," he wrote.

In his first comments over the disappearance, Turkish on Sunday said he was awaiting the results of an investigation.

"We hope to have results very quickly," Erdogan said. "I am waiting, with high hopes."

Erdogan also said police officers were examining CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and airport.

But Haytham Abokhalil, an Istanbul-based Egytian presenter at Al-Sharq TV, said supporters wanted "strong action" from Erdogan.

Abokhalil and conflict expert Mohamed Okda, both friends of Khashoggi's, demanded explanations from Prince Mohammed over the disappearance.

"We demand the international community to pressure and to tell us exactly what happened inside the consulate... and to tell us every detail of who was involved in this crime," Okda told AFP.

launched a modernisation campaign following Prince Mohammed's appointment as heir to the throne with moves such as lifting a ban on women driving.

But the ultra-conservative kingdom, which ranks 169th out of 180 on RSF's World Press Freedom Index, has been strongly criticised over its intolerance of dissent with dozens of people arrested including intellectuals and Islamic preachers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 08 2018. 20:50 IST