Turkey: Joint inspection planned at consulate

Istanbul- Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to conduct a joint “inspection” on Monday of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish officials said.

The Foreign Ministry official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia warned that if it “receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy.”

“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations,” said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

A column published in English a short time later by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite news network suggested Saudi Arabia could use its oil production as a weapon. The Arabic-language daily Okaz wrote a headline on Monday in English warning: “Don’t Test Our Patience.” It showed a clenched fist made of a crowd of people in the country’s green colour.

The Saudi Gazette trumpeted: “Enough Is Enough,” while the Arab News said: “Saudi Arabia ‘will not be bullied’.”

News that the CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, would pull out of the kingdom’s upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as “Davos in the Desert”, drew angry responses across the region. The foreign minister of Bahrain, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, tweeted Sunday night that there should be a boycott of the ride-hailing app both there and in Saudi Arabia.

Late Sunday, Saudi King Salman spoke by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Khashoggi. Turkey said Erdogan “stressed the forming of a joint working group to probe the case.” Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said King Salman thanked Erdogan “for welcoming the kingdom’s proposal” for forming the working group.

The king also said Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations and “that no one will get to undermine the strength of this relationship,” according to a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. While Turkey and the kingdom differ on political issues, Saudi investments are a crucial lifeline for Ankara amid trouble with its national currency, the Turkish lira.

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