Saudi Arabia’s consul general in Istanbul left Turkey for Riyadh today, Turkish broadcasters said.
Mohammad Al-Otaibi left Turkey on a commercial flight hours before his residence was expected to be searched by Turkish police in relation to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi two weeks ago.
Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October. Saudi Arabia has denied any role in his disappearance.
Riyadh has been under pressure since Khashoggi’s disappearance to explain what had happened after he entered the consulate in Istanbul. Turkish security officials published evidence of what they believed was a plot authorised from the top of the Saudi government to kill the journalist.
Turkey claimed it had evidence of the interrogation of Khashoggi by Saudi agents close to the Crown Prince and further proof that his body had been cut into pieces using a bone cutter. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had one eye on the diplomatic fallout from the incident, put pressure on Riyadh to provide evidence that Khashoggi had left the embassy after photos of him entering the Saudi embassy building was circulated worldwide.
Saudi is expected to admit that Khashoggi was killed in a botched interrogation at the consulate.