Istanbul: Turkish authorities as well as newswatchers worldwide, are still trying to grapple with the disappearance of a Saudi journalist living in Istanbul fom the Saudi consulate in the city. Ever since he walked into the premises last Tuesday, nothing has been heard of him, except a whole range of conjectures and some intelligent guesses.
Jamal Khashoggi, described as a dissident journalist, who was once a royal insider but later turned into a critic of the current Saudi government, is believed to have been either kidnapped alive to a different location, or assassinated inside the consulate compound.
Turkish officials have said that a 15-person team flew from Saudi Arabia into Istanbul on the day Khashoggi entered the consulate, and they have provided information about two private planes that, they say, were involved in the transit of these Saudis. CNN said that aviation data analyzed by it endorsed evidence of the planes' arrival in Istanbul.
One thing that is known for sure about Khashoggi's fate is that he was last seen at 1:14 p.m. local time last Tuesday as he entered the consulate. His disappearance has prompted calls for investigations from around the world.
The kingdom's Western allies, including the United States, where Khashoggi had applied for permanent residency, have urged Saudi Arabia to reveal facts.
The fiancee of Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz posted a call in Washington Post requesting President Trump and his wife Melanie to intervene in the matter. Jamal Khashoggi used to write columns for the Post.
Khashoggi after distancing himself from the Saudi monarchy in 2017 was living in self-imposed exile in the US, where he began writing op-eds for the Washington Post criticizing his country's royal institutions.
Trump said on Wednesday that he's been in touch with the "highest levels" of the Saudi government about Khashoggi's case and expressed concerns about his possible murder. He said his administration was pressing the Saudi government to reveal more about the incident.
"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on here. It's a bad situation," Trump said in the Oval Office.
But he stopped short of saying whether he believed the Saudis have knowledge about his whereabouts, or may have played a role in his disappearance, stating that not enough was known to make a determination.
CNN quoted Khashoggi's fiancée as telling that although she is afraid that media reports of his death could be true, she wants to wait for a "final result" and still thinks "anything" could have happened to him.
On the Saudi part, the kingdom's ambassador to the United States and son of King Salman, Khalid Bin Salman reacted that there are a lot of conjectures and wrong information doing the rounds against Saudi. He dismissed the news about Khashoggi's disappearance or assassination, as baseless rumours. Khashoggi has many friends in Saudi, including himself, and apart from differences of oinions, they have maintained good relations. He added that as in the case of any other Saudi citizen, all possible enquiry will be conducted about his disappearance.