Friday, October 5, 2018

The Mysterious Disappearance in Turkey of a Washington Post Contributor

 Jamal Khashoggi
 UPDATE below: Turkish government says Khashoggi killed.  

This sure smells like the dirty work of Saudi Crown Prince  Mohammed bin Salman.

The Washington Post reports:
JAMAL KHASHOGGI, a journalist who has turned a trenchant and questioning eye on the leadership of his country, Saudi Arabia, entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to take care of what should have been routine paperwork. Saudi Arabia says he then left. His fiancee, waiting for him, says he did not, and he cannot be found. Turkey says it has seen no sign that he left the building. Mr. Khashoggi, a contributor to The Post’s Global Opinions section, appears to have disappeared, and we are worried.

Mr. Khashoggi is not just any commentator. Over a long career, he has had close contact with Saudi royalty and knows more than most about how they think and function. His criticism, voiced over the past year, most surely rankles Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to crown prince last year and has carried out a wide-ranging campaign to silence dissent while trying to modernize the kingdom. Among those in his prisons for political speech are clerics, bloggers, journalists and activists. He imprisoned women who agitated for the right to drive, a right that was granted even as they were punished.

Mr. Khashoggi saw the writing on the wall. After Donald Trump’s election, Mr. Khashoggi remarked at an event at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the kingdom was rightfully nervous about a Trump presidency. This comment apparently angered the Saudi leadership, which hoped to ingratiate itself with the new president. Mr. Khashoggi was told to stop writing and using Twitter. Seeing so many others imprisoned for their views, he decided to leave the country. He wrote for The Post in September 2017, “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”

He continued writing columns for The Post after that. He wrote in February that the crown prince’s restrictions on free speech had “sucked the oxygen from the once-limited but present public square.

Via The Washington Post:
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to discuss the whereabouts of veteran journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey’s state media reported, after he disappeared while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Ambassador Walid bin Abdul Karim El Khereiji was called to the ministry Wednesday for questions about Khashoggi’s location, the private broadcaster NTV reported from Ankara, the Turkish capital. The ambassador, who met with Turkey’s deputy foreign minister, denied having knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Thursday’s news report said.

According to NTV, Khereiji was told that “the matter should be clarified as soon as possible.”

Turkey’s summoning of the ambassador came as the New York-based Human Rights Watch called on the Turkish authorities to intensify their investigation into Khashoggi’s whereabouts.


Turkey Police assessed that Khashoggi was killed at Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (REUTERS)

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