Turkey widens search for Khashoggi clues

Cars were seen driving from the consulate to the consul's residence on the day Mr Khashoggi disappeared

Cars were seen driving from the consulate to the consul’s residence on the day Mr Khashoggi disappeared

Turkey is widening its search for clues to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to include the Saudi consul’s Istanbul residence.

The consulate itself, where Mr Khashoggi was last seen on October 2, was searched by Turkish investigators on Monday for the first time.

The consul, Mohammad al-Otaibi has now left Turkey, local media report.

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to give a full explanation of what happened to Mr Khashoggi.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been meeting Saudi leaders in Riyadh and is expected in Turkey later.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but the Saudis have denied this.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being allowed in by Saudi authorities.

But, according to Turkish media, Mr al-Otaibi left Turkey on a commercial flight bound for Saudi Arabia hours before his official residence was due to be searched.

The decision to widen the search was announced to reporters by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who added that he had received no “confession” from the Saudis.

Turkish sources released security video last week of cars with diplomatic plates driving between the consulate and the consul’s residence on the day Mr Khashoggi was last seen.

The secretary of state has been meeting King Salman, the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh.

Mr Pompeo thanked the king for his “commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation”, state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The crown prince also agreed on the need for an investigation that “provides answers”, she said.

The secretary of state was dispatched to Riyadh on Monday after Mr Trump spoke to King Salman on the phone.

According to Mr Trump, King Salman denied “any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’.”

The president described the denial as “very, very strong” and raised the possibility that “rogue killers” may have been involved.

Leading Republican senator and defender of US-Saudi links, Lindsey Graham, has been highly critical of Mohammed Bin Salman on Fox News.

“This guy’s gotta go,” he said on Tuesday morning, describing the heir apparent as a “wrecking ball”. -BBC

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