Missing Saudi Journalist: Turkey believes Saudi reporter killed

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Turkey's ruling party said it will "uncover" the details surrounding Khashoggi's vanishing, adding that the country's sensitivity on the issue was at the "highest level".

"The idea of kidnapping of a Saudi citizen by a diplomatic mission is something that should not be [propagated] in the media" he said.

Saudi Arabia's consul-general told Reuters on Saturday his country was helping search for Khashoggi, and dismissed talk of his possible abduction.

Late on Saturday, Turkish sources told Reuters that Turkish authorities believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate last week, in what they described as the deliberate targeting of a prominent critic of the Gulf kingdom's rulers. Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar a year ago in a show of support after its Gulf neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

Khashoggi, a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and adviser to its former head of intelligence, left the country past year saying he feared retribution for his growing criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent.

His interview came a day after Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, that Saudi King Salman would not last in power unless the United States provided military support for the Arab kingdom. "Until otherwise demonstrated, he is still inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and the Saudi authorities are responsible for his safety and well-being", she said in a statement.

"But I said, "King - we're protecting you - you might not be there for two weeks without us - you have to pay for your military", Trump said. "I don't want to end up in jail in Saudi Arabia for nothing".

Successive waves of arrests have targeted what the government said were corrupt businessmen, clerics plotting against the monarchy, and women's rights activists branded as traitors.

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The killing, if confirmed, would mark a startling escalation of Saudi Arabia's effort to silence dissent. And Saudi Arabia and OPEC and non-OPEC countries, they've produced 1.5 million barrels a day.

Turkey maintains a military base in Doha that can accommodate up to 5,000 troops; Saudi Arabia demanded Turkish troops withdraw as one of its conditions for ending the standoff with Qatar.

It said Saudi Arabia sent a team of investigators to help look into the case.

"There's no room for people like me", Mr. Khashoggi said.

The source added that a security team had arrived in Istanbul to investigate Mr Khashoggi's disappearance. He also stressed that with the support of Washington Saudi Arabia is totally safe, but without us, who knows what's going to happen. "If I go back, I have to dance their dance".

The Trump administration has had a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it views as a bulwark against Iran's ambitions in the region.

-Peter Wonacott contributed to this article.

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