Saudi journalist goes missing in Istanbul

Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his phone at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year

Turkish and Saudi authorities gave conflicting accounts on Wednesday about the whereabouts of Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing retribution for his views and has not been seen almost 30 hours after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The consulate general of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. confirmed that it is carrying out the follow-up procedures and coordination with Turkish local authorities to uncover the circumstances of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after he left the consulate building", read a statement published by Saudi Arabia's state-run SPA news agency. "I hope this issue will be resolved easily", he told reporters.

Khashoggi regularly wrote for the Washington Post, criticising Saudi policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen, and a crackdown on dissent and the media in the kingdom.

Khashoggi's fiancée accompanied him to the building, but she had to wait outside.

"We have been unable to reach Jamal today and are very concerned about where he may be", The Post's global opinions editor, Eli Lopez, had said in a statement.

Khashoggi went to the consulate to get the paperwork done for his upcoming marriage with fiancé Hatice.

"I do not know what has happened to him". "We don't have information to the contrary".

Formerly an editor of the Al-Watan newspaper and of a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, Khashoggi has also been a contributor to BBC programmes about Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

The 59-year-old was critical of the Saudi government's reform programme under the stewardship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Speaking to reporters at the presidential complex in Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said Turkish authorities believed the journalist was still at the consulate.

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The Arab21 news website reported that the author paid a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, but was told by officials at the time to return at a later date to complete an application related to a family matter.

Khashoggi, a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks for years, has lived in self-exile in Washington for more than a year after he said the authorities had instructed him to stop tweeting.

He is one of the rare Saudi journalists to condemn repression in the country.

The two countries maintain cordial relations but are on opposing sides of a regional dispute pitting Qatar against a bloc of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday, according to his fiancee who was waiting for him outside the building.

He is also known for his close association with the young Osama Bin Laden, with whom he travelled extensively in Afghanistan in the 1980s during the Soviet occupation - though he publicly rejected Bin Laden's later ideologies and had lost touch with him long before the 2001 attacks on the US.

What does Saudi Arabia say?

He left Saudi Arabia on 18 September 2017, after turning a critic of MBS. "I can speak when so many cannot". Among them was economist Essam al-Zamil, a friend of Mr. Khashoggi's, who was charged this week with joining a terrorist organization, meeting with foreign diplomats and inciting protests.

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