Pompeo lands in Turkey as probe into Saudi Jamal Khashoggi case heats up

Pompeo said Saudi leaders made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable; US President Trump has criticized the rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday held talks with the Turkish leadership in Ankara over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo went straight into talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Interviewed by state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu refused to be drawn into commenting on what may have happened inside the consulate.

“I have my own opinions…I have strong opinions but that (the investigation) is the job of the judiciary,” he said.

He added that the search of the consul’s residence would take place only when there is a joint agreement with Riyadh.

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Turkish police on Monday night undertook an eight-hour search at the consulate, taking away soil and DNA samples. A search is expected at the consul’s residence.

Saudi consul Mohammed Al Otaibi left Istanbul for Riyadh on a scheduled Saudia flight on Tuesday afternoon, with Ankara commenting that he had not been expelled and left by his own choice.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Saudi leaders strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their Istanbul consulate during a visit by US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and promised a serious and credible investigation.

“During each of today’s meetings, the Saudi leadership strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul,” Pompeo said in a statement from Saudi Arabia.

“My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia’s senior leaders or senior officials.”

State Mike Pompeo told journalists before leaving Riyadh on Wednesday that Saudi leaders, including King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, “made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable.”

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US top diplomat arrived in Turkey on Wednesday morning for talks over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance with Turkish officials.

President Trump has criticized the rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Trump compared the situation to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Monday with King Salman. He said both deny any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi, who entered their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago and has not been seen since.


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