Turkey searches Saudi Embassy as Trump speaks of 'rogue killers'

Congress and Western allies demand answers on fate of journalist as Saudi Arabia balks

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia is reportedly allowing Turkey, which reportedly says it has audio and video evidence that Khashoggi was killed, to search its Istanbul consulate.

CNN's report said the nation had not given its clearance for the attack on Khashoggi, and said "Those involved will be held responsible".

One source cautioned that the report was still being prepared and could change, CNN said today.

Speaking to reporters after a phone call with King Salman, Mr Trump said the Saudi leader had firmly denied knowing what had happened to Mr Khashoggi. The kingdom has called the allegations of foul play "baseless" but has offered no evidence the writer left the consulate. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said of Khashoggi's disappearance, "We're not going to make any judgments about what happened to him".

Earlier, a Turkish diplomatic source had said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the consulate, the last place where Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.

October 7: Saudi government officials deny involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance after reports that he was killed.

In a statement by the Saudi Press Agency, the government denied any involvement: "The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by waving economic sanctions, using political pressure, or repeating false accusations".

Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case that has strained the Americans' relationship with the Saudis, carefully cultivated by the USA president.

Officially entitled the Future Finance Initiative, the Saudi conference describes itself as an "international platform for expert-led debate between investors, innovators and governments as well as economic leaders".

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Saudi's Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir said a restoration of relations would not be achieved until Canada apologizes for interfering in the country's internal matters.

Just a few hours prior, Trump had speculated on Monday that "rogue killers" may have been behind the disappearance of the Saudi journalist and dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case.

But he left Saudi Arabia roughly a year ago over fears for his safety after writing articles critical of the government, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A team arrived by unmarked police cars at the consulate but said nothing to journalists waiting outside as they entered the building.

Erdoğan stressed forming a joint working group to probe the case, said a Turkish presidential source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media.

In August, Freeland sent a tweet condemning Saudi Arabia's decision to jail prominent women's rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah.

Khashoggi had visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for an appointment related to his upcoming wedding.

The meeting is on, even though several officials and media companies have pulled out of the conference due to the Khashoggi's disappearance.

In a major new blow for the event, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford also cancelled plans to attend as well as Larry Fink, the head of investment giant BlackRock, and Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone.

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