The Latest: Turkish media say Saudi vehicle scouted forest
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):
Turkish media have published a security camera image allegedly showing a vehicle belonging to the Saudi Consulate “scouting” a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul before the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The image obtained by state television TRT and other media on Wednesday shows a black car with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrade Forest.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Consulate officials had made “reconnaissance” trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed, while Turkish officials have told the AP that investigators were looking into the possibility that the journalist’s remains may have been disposed at those two locations.
The photo was the latest in a string of images leaked by security officials to media organizations, in an apparent effort to exert pressure on Saudi officials.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has made a joke about Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri getting “kidnapped,” after his bizarre resignation last year on a trip to the kingdom.
Speaking on Wednesday at an economic summit, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Hariri “will be here for two days, so no ideas (please that) he’s been kidnapped.”
The audience at the Future Investment Initiative laughed and applauded.
Hariri resigned last year as prime minister during a trip to Riyadh, something many believe he was forced to do by Prince Mohammed. Hariri later left the kingdom and rescinded his resignation. He’s been on other trips back since.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince says his “war” is restoring the Middle East to its past glory, not mentioning the yearslong conflict he embroiled the kingdom in Yemen.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a standing ovation for the comment Wednesday at the Future Investment Initiative.
He did not mention the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which he launched as the country’s defense minister in 2015.
Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war, which has displaced 2 million more and helped spawn a cholera epidemic. Saudi-led airstrikes have struck medical clinics and markets, killing large numbers of civilians and damaging vital infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has called the killing of Jamal Khashoggi a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately said that the killing of the Washington Post columnist will not “drive a wedge” between the kingdom and Turkey.
His comments Wednesday came at the Future Investment Initiative. This year’s summit, however, has been overshadowed by the killing Oct. 2 of Khashoggi. Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage was allegedly at the consulate at the time.
International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit over the killing.
Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have discussed what they said were “the need for joint efforts to shed light on all aspects of on the killing” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The officials said the two, in a telephone call on Wednesday, also discuss steps that need to be taken for the investigation. They said the Saudi prince had requested the conversation.
The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity, in line with government regulations.
Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team, that includes at least one member from the prince’s entourage, killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia said the journalist was killed in a fistfight.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has arrived for a talk at his Riyadh investment forum, a summit now clouded by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared at the summit on Wednesday.
He was to talk with Bahrain’s crown prince and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whom many suspect was coerced by Prince Mohammed to resign from his position on a visit to Saudi Arabia last year. Hariri later renounced his resignation.
It’s the second year for the Future Investment Initiative. This year’s summit, however, has been overshadowed by the killing Oct. 2 of Khashoggi. Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit.
Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain will ban suspects in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Britain.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi was killed Oct. 2 by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that included diplomats and a member of Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage on overseas trips.
May said that “if these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked today.”
May told British lawmakers that Britain condemned the killing “in the strongest possible terms” said she planned to speak to King Salman about the case later Wednesday
But May defended Britain’s lucrative weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, saying U.K. arms export licensing conditions “are among the strictest in the world.”
She said the High Court ruled last year that British arms exports to Saudi were legal, but noted that Britain kept all licenses “under review.”
Turkey’s state-run news agency says Saudi officials have not allowed Turkish investigators probing the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to search a well in the garden of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Anadolu Agency on Wednesday cited unnamed security officials for its report. It did not say however, whether Turkish investigators believe crucial evidence could be hidden in the well.
Turkish forensic teams have searched the consulate and the consul general’s official residence, as well as vehicles belonging to the consulate, as part of their probe into Khashoggi’s death.
Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, was killed Oct. 2 at the consulate as a result of a fistfight. Turkey insists the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist’s killing was pre-planned and was carried out by a 15-member assassination squad.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is claiming that Saudi Arabia would not have dared have journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul without having some sort of backing from the United States.
The remarks follow Turkey’s assertion that the writer was killed by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that included a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on overseas trips.
Wednesday’s report by the state-run IRNA news agency quotes Rouhani as saying: “I don’t think that without getting support from the United States, a country would dare to commit such a crime.”
Rouhani offered no evidence for his allegations.
Rouhani also called the Saudi system of government a “tribal rule” under which individuals enjoy protection and support from those in power. That protection is such that no court would initiate any actions against those individuals.
Australia says a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia is one of the options it is considering after a journalist was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Australian officials say they are no longer prioritizing a defense industry agreement with Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne was asked in Parliament on Wednesday whether Australia would follow the lead of other countries and suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Payne responded that “all options are on the table.”
She added: “We absolutely recognize this is an extremely serious situation of the highest order of magnitude.”
Australia also responded to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul by boycotting an investment conference created by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that is now underway in Riyadh.
Spain’s prime minister says his government will fulfill past arms sales contracts with Saudi Arabia despite his “dismay” over the “terrible murder” of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Pedro Sanchez has told lawmakers on Wednesday that protecting jobs in southern Spain was also central to his decision last month to go ahead with a controversial bomb shipment to Saudi Arabia.
Spain has said that the $2.1 billion purchase by Saudi Arabia for five navy ships was put at risk when the government pondered canceling the shipment 400 precision bombs purchased by Riyadh in 2015.
Sanchez hasn’t clarified what his plans are regarding future purchases by the long-time commercial ally.
The prime minister says his government will also make a proposal to make Spain a “pioneer” in verification and transparency on arms exports.
Turkey’s president says his country is determined not to allow all those responsible for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi escape justice.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also pledged that Turkey would share any new evidence it acquires in the investigation into the killing in a “transparent manner.” He spoke on Wednesday at a symposium in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Erdogan says: “We are determined not to allow the murder to be covered up and for those responsible — from the person who gave the order to those who executed it — not to escape justice.”
Saudi Arabia has said that Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, was killed Oct. 2 in a “fistfight” with officials sent to encourage him to return to the kingdom.
Erdogan has said the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist was the victim of a pre-planned “savage murder.”
The Saudi woman who defied authorities by driving a car before the kingdom’s ban on female drivers was lifted in August, says her friend Jamal Khashoggi “was really assassinated for being outspoken.”
Manal Al-Sharif says “this is a new level the Saudi government is reaching,” adding that people inside the kingdom “are so afraid to speak up.”
Al-Sharif spoke in Denmark where she’s promoting her book “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening,”
Turkey says Khashoggi was killed in a planned murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Al-Sharif told Denmark’s TV2 channel on Wednesday that Khashoggi supported her fight for the Saudi women’s right to drive. After al-Sharif got behind the wheel, she was arrested and jailed. She now lives in “a self-imposed exile” in Australia.
Pakistan says Saudi Arabia will provide a $6 billion package of loans and deferred payments in an effort to resuscitate Islamabad’s flagging economy, struggling under the weight of a whopping $18 billion deficit.
The deal was signed Tuesday by Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar and his Saudi counterpart, Muhammad Abdullah Al-Jadaan, on the sidelines of an international investment forum underway in the kingdom.
Many international business leaders and officials had pulled out of attending the gathering in the wake of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan went to the conference despite rights activists’ urging he boycott the venue over Khashoggi’s killing.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the Saudi aid gives Pakistan an immediate $3 billion to bolster its foreign exchange reserves. At the end of one year, it’s to be returned to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan will also get $3 billion in oil imports on a buy-now-pay-later basis.
Separately from the Saudi influx, Pakistan is also seeking an IMF loan.
The Saudi crown prince is to make his first international speech since the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Mohammed bin Salman is to address the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh on Wednesday afternoon.
The summit is the prince’s brainchild, an effort to draw much-needed foreign direct investment into the kingdom to create jobs for its young population.
However, this year’s summit has been overshadowed by the Oct. 2 killing of Khashoggi. Turkish officials say the writer was killed by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that included a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on overseas trips.
Saudi Arabia has suggested, without offering evidence, that the team went rogue.
Many international business leaders have pulled out of attending the summit over Khashoggi’s slaying.