Turkey steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia to extradite Khashoggi killing suspects

Turkey steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia to extradite Khashoggi killing suspects

Turkey is ready to launch legal proceedings into Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder if Saudi Arabia is reluctant to do so, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told reporters.

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was premeditated, reversing previous statements that it was unintended.

The Saudi government has said it arrested and would itself punish 18 people for what it described as a rogue operation by officials who killed Mr Khashoggi in the consulate. Erdogan also said Saudi's public prosecutor was due to meet the Istanbul prosecutor in Istanbul on Sunday.

But the Saudi foreign minister vowed Saturday "we will overcome it". Mattis and others, meanwhile, have said the U.S.is providing key support to the Saudi-led coalition, and that the assistance is helping the kingdom improve its targeting.

Conflicting reports have surfaced about whether investigators had searched a well in the garden of Saudi Arabia's consulate as part of their probe.

US and foreign officials say such an operation - involving a team of Saudi agents - was unlikely to have taken place without the knowledge of the kingdom's leaders, including ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour", Prince Mohammed said, later adding, "We have nothing to hide".

After days of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week admitted that the journalist had been killed inside the consulate.

"These two principles are vital for ensuring the continued collaboration we know is necessary for a safe, secure and prosperous Middle East", Mattis said. Al-Jubeir on Saturday said six in total were dismissed.

But Sabah, another pro-government newspaper that has published leaks about the case from Turkish officials, said Saudi Arabia has yet to give Turkish authorities permission for a search. "What we say to people is wait until everything is done" then decide if the investigation was serious or not. "We have made it clear that we are going to have a full and transparent investigation, the results of which will be released".

Al-Jubeir appeared to rejected that notion.

"We shall of course confer within the European Union to work out what future steps we shall take", she added.

"With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all greatly", he continued.

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi "undermines regional stability" and the U.S. State Department plans to take further action in response to the killing, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday at an worldwide conference in the Middle East. "Failure of any one nation to adhere to worldwide norms and rule of law undermines regional stability when it is needed most".

Mr Trump also said Riyadh had staged the "worst cover-up ever" over the killing. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US had identified several individuals it says are responsible, and was already working to revoke visas and is considering imposing sanctions.

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamir Gul said Friday that Turkish institutions were capable and determined in their investigation, according to Turkey's state news agency Anadolu.

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