Jamal Khashoggi is believed to have been murdered by Saudi officials in the country’s embassy in Istanbul.

Following shocking reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been murdered in the country’s embassy in Istanbul, President Erdogan of Turkey has announced that he is now personally involved in the case and is holding out hope.

“As president, I am pursuing,” Erdogan said on Sunday in a televised interview. “We’re waiting for the prosecutor’s statement. My expectation is still well-meant. I hope we won’t encounter an undesirable situation.”

Experts have claimed that the political fallout over the disappearance of Khashoggi could further strain ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia has been quite vocal over its objections to Turkey’s support of political Islam, while the country has sided with Qatar over the dispute arising from the Saudi-led siege.

The Khashoggi affair has also come at a time when Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States is tense. President Trump has recently applied pressure on Saudi Arabia to do more to ease oil prices and the latest shocking events could send their relationship into disrepair.

“I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive,” Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said on Twitter. “But if this deeply disturbing news report is confirmed, the United States & the civilized world must respond strongly, and I will review all options in Senate.”

According to reports, a Turkish government official said Khashoggi was believed to have been killed inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. A Saudi official denied the claim.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told Bloomberg on Wednesday that Khashoggi had left the building shortly after entering it and that he was ready to allow Turkey to search the consulate. He said he wasn’t aware of Khashoggi’s whereabouts.

Khashoggi’s alleged murder is believed to have been premeditated and carried out by a team of 15 people flown in from the kingdom, the Turkish official said.

Khashoggi was a vocal critic of the crown prince and feared he would eventually bankrupt the country over his plans to build cities that have so far remained empty, and his policy of focusing on measures that will curry favor with the youth of the country.

Experts state that Khashoggi’s disappearance is a sign of the crackdown on dissent under Prince Mohammed that has coincided with his attempts to loosen social restrictions and create a more dynamic economy less reliant on oil.

Over recent months, the Saudi government has arrested dozens of clerics, academics, writers, businessmen and journalists from different groups of society.

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Author

Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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