The Latest: Trump reluctant to cancel arms sales to Saudis
ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):
President Donald Trump says “we would be punishing ourselves” by canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump says the sale is a “tremendous order for our companies.” He says if the kingdom doesn’t buy its weaponry from the United States, they will buy it from Russia.
Trump also said on Saturday that he would meet with Khashoggi’s family. But he says he has not discussed Khashoggi with Saudi King Salman as he said Friday he would do.
Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the Saudi ruling family, disappeared more than a week ago after he was last seen on video entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Published reports based on anonymous sources say he was killed by the Saudis.
Saudi has said the claim is “baseless.”
Turkey’s top diplomat has reiterated a call to Saudi Arabia to allow Turkish authorities to enter the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul for an investigation on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had not yet cooperated with Turkey on the search for Khashoggi.
He says that Turkish “prosecutors and technical friends must enter” the consulate “and Saudi Arabia must cooperate with us on this.”
His comments come days after Saudi Arabia said it would open its consulate for a search but that is yet to happen. The journalist was last seen there on Oct. 2.
Cavusoglu said Turkey would share information with Saudi Arabia in a “joint working group” but stressed the Turkish investigation would continue separately.
President Donald Trump says Saudi leaders, as of now, “deny it every way you can imagine” allegations that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the kingdom.
But, he has told CBS’ “60 Minutes,” ″Could it be them? Yes.”
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump, who’s attacked the press as the “enemy of the people,” says “there’s a lot of stake, and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. ... You’ll be surprised to hear me say that.”
He says “we’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.”
Trump isn’t saying what that could be, but says he doesn’t want to cut off American military sales to Saudi Arabia.
He says “there are other ways of punishing.”
A pro-government Turkish newspaper is reporting that Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Sabah newspaper, through which Turkish security officials have leaked much information about the case, reported Saturday that Khashoggi’s Apple Watch recorded his alleged slaying at the hands of Saudi officials.
The newspaper said authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud account. The journalist had given his phones to his fiancée before entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Turkish officials have not answered queries from The Associated Press about Khashoggi’s Apple Watch.
Meanwhile, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud said Saturday that “what has been circulating about orders to kill (Khashoggi) are lies and baseless allegations against the government of the kingdom.”
President Donald Trump has declared the U.S. will uncover the truth about what happened to journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, whose possible murder at Saudi hands after disappearing in Istanbul has captured worldwide attention.
Trump promised Friday to personally call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman soon about “the terrible situation in Turkey.”
Khashoggi, a forceful critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish officials have said they believe he was murdered there. U.S. officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government and are not yet accepting the Turkish government’s conclusions.
The Saudis have called accusations that they are responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance “baseless.”