A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey Friday as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi dissident journalist.
Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, vanished last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Some Turkish officials believe he may have been murdered inside the embassy, but they haven’t offered any evidence – and Saudi Arabia calls that allegation “baseless.”
But many believe that Khashoggi may indeed have been killed.
Video of the incident shows Khashoggi walking into the Saudi Arabian consulate more than a week ago. There is no footage of him ever coming out.
There are, however, images and video of an alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” entering the country by private plane. And surveillance video of the consulate shows that two hours after Khashoggi walked into the building, a van with diplomatic license plates left with someone or something inside.
News reports suggest Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi government, was tortured, killed and his body dismembered.
Khashoggi had gone into the consulate to get a document to allow him to remarry while his fiancée waited outside.
Although Saudi Arabia is dismissing murder allegations, the kingdom has offered no evidence that the writer did indeed leave the consulate and is still alive.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump says the US is “demanding” answers from Saudi Arabia and that he plans to invite Khashoggi’s fiancée to the White House.
“It’s a very bad situation and we want to get to the bottom of it,” the president said.
“His wife wrote us a letter and addressed it to my wife and myself and we’re in contact with her now and we want to bring her to the White House,” he explained. “It’s a very sad situation.”
Lawmaker Calls Saudi Dissident Case a ‘Game-Changer’
The reaction among US senators to the reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance has been shock and anger.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warns if the Saudis did murder Khashoggi, there will be “hell to pay.”
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it and I hope there’s a good explanation,” he said. “If not, this will be a game-changer for me regarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) echoed that sentiment.
“If Saudi Arabia took a US resident, lured him into a consulate and killed him, it’s time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia,” the Connecticut lawmaker said.
The incident calls into question whether the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the pro-democracy reformer he claimed he was.
“We only want to go back to what we were: moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all the religions,” bin Salman recently declared.
Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s democratic credentials have also come under attack. He is said to have been a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, but as a fierce critic of the Saudi regime, he reportedly told friends that he had reason to fear for his life.