Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Turkey this week amid the firestorm over the missing Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Khashoggi, a former adviser to Saudi intelligence who became an outspoken critic of the regime and was employed as a columnist for the Washington Post, has not been seen since he entered the consulate on October 2 to finalize divorce papers so he could marry his fiancée.
Turkey has claimed that Khashoggi was interrogated, murdered, and dismembered in the consulate by a team of killers flown in from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian government denies this claim, insisting that he left the consulate alive through a back door.
Pompeo traveled to Riyadh and met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
“The secretary reiterated the president’s concern with respect to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, as well as the president’s desire to determine what happened,” the State Department said in a statement. “The secretary welcomed Saudi Arabia’s support of the Turkish authorities’ investigation. The Secretary and the Crown Prince agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation that provides answers.”
Pompeo will reportedly travel to Turkey on Thursday after his meetings with Saudi Arabian leaders.
President Trump warned Saudi Arabia of “severe punishment” if it is discovered the government murdered Khashoggi, but said he would not cancel previous agreements to sell billions of dollars in arms to the country. The president suggested on Monday that “rogue killers” might be responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance, noting that Crown Prince Mohammed has “firmly denied any knowledge” of it.