A pro-government Turkish newspaper on Thursday pointed a finger at a Saudi security official close to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Riyadh’s ally Washington kept up its cautious stance.
More than two weeks since Khashoggi disappeared after stepping inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, neither Turkey nor the United States have publicly confirmed he is dead or said that Riyadh is to blame.
But with a steady stream of sometimes macabre claims leaked to the Turkish press, Riyadh is under increasing pressure to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a former regime insider who became critical of Prince Mohammad.
Turkish police overnight undertook a nine-hour search of the residence of the Saudi consul to Istanbul — who abruptly left the country on Tuesday — and also searched the consulate for the second time.
The controversy threatens to rip apart Prince Mohammad’s attempt to portray himself as a modernizing Arab ruler, with his planned investment conference in Riyadh next week hit by a litany of big name cancellations.