Turkey to search Saudi consulate in missing journalist case

Turkey to search Saudi consulate in missing journalist case

Trump tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Saudi King Salman, "who denies any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi. Trump announced he'd dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom - and anywhere else necessary - to get to the bottom of the apparent demise of Khashoggi, a Saudi who had been living and working in the United States.

In an excerpt from an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, Trump added pressure on the kingdom, vowing "severe punishment" should the kingdom's leaders be linked to the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish police investigating the case had said in a statement on October 6 that 15 Saudis, including several officials, had arrived in Istanbul on two planes and entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside.

Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, although he has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia.

"We don't know for sure what happened and I would say that Khashoggi has also been really critical of the Iranians, that we have - you know the Saudis are - they are among the gulf nations who have together tried to be moderate Arabs in the fight against radical Islam..."

The king phoned Erdogan "to thank the president for welcoming the kingdom's proposal to form a joint working group to discuss the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi".

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow later said that Riyadh should take Trump's warning seriously.

Japanese SoftBank's shares also took a dive on Monday, falling by almost seven percent over fears for its major financial ties with Saudi Arabia.

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The statement aired on Saudi Arabian state media came after the country's stock market plunged by almost 7 per cent at one point on Sunday.

The search came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman also had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted, in what appeared to be a conciliatory conversation according to official readouts.

A White House aide says President Donald Trump is serious when he says there'll be "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia is found to be complicit in the disappearance of USA resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Roger Diwan, a veteran OPEC watcher at consultant IHS Markit Ltd., said the Saudi comments broke "an essential oil market taboo" and could be self-defeating.

"We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response".

According to the kingdom's official SPA news agency, Riyadh said it would retaliate in case any possible economic sanctions were adopted by other states over the case of Khashoggi in what has been seen as an allusion to calls on the U.S. administration to revoke its hefty arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Trump suggested Saudi Arabia's king "might not be there for two weeks" without USA military support.

Several Republicans and Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to Trump requesting he "make a determination on the imposition of sanctions ... with respect to any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi". On Monday, Riyadh's Tadawul exchange closed up 4 per cent.

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