Turkish-Saudi team to probe missing journalist case as pressure mounts on Riyadh

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A joint Turkish-Saudi team will investigate the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggiupon the Kingdom’s request, said the Turkish president’s aide on Oct. 12, as pressure mounted on Riyadh.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, İbrahim Kalın said: “Within the framework of a close cooperation between Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and upon the suggestion of the Kingdom, a joint working team between Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be formed to investigate the case of Jamalin all its aspects.”

Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2, when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.  Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation on the fate of Khashoggi as several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the U.K. — press for clarification.

Meanwhile, media companies are pulling out of a Saudi investment conference because of growing outrage over the case.

Economist Editor-In-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes will not participate in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, spokeswoman Lauren Hackett said in an email.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, a CNBC anchor and New York Times business journalist, tweeted that he was not attending the conference, saying he was “terribly distressed by the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and reports of his murder.”

The New York Times Co has also decided to pull out of the event as a media sponsor, spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.

The Financial Times said in a statement that it was reviewing its involvement as a media partner.

Viacom Inc Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish, who was slated to speak at the conference, has decided to not attend the event, company spokesman Justin Dini said.

Other media companies slated to appear at the conference include CNN and Bloomberg, according to the event’s website.

The disappearance of Khashoggi has cast a shadow over the three-day conference known as “Davos in the desert,” which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 23. The Post is owned by Amazon.com Inc founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.

The event attracted some of the world’s business elite including Wall Street’s top bosses and executives from multinational media, tech and financial services companies.

JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon is scheduled to speak, as is Mastercard Inc CEO Ajay Banga. Representatives for both companies did not respond to requests for comment.

Another billionaire, Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL, also decided to distance himself from Saudi Arabia, saying he would no longer attend the event.

“In light of recent events, I have decided to put my plans on hold, pending further information regarding Jamal Khashoggi.” Case tweeted https://twitter.com/SteveCase/status/1050527146991648768.

Khashoggi‘s disappearance has led officials and business leaders to drop out of another one of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s large projects.

The Harbour Group, a Washington firm that has been advising Saudi Arabia since April 2017, ended its $80,000 a month on Oct. 11. We have terminated the relationship, managing director Richard Mintz said.

British billionaire Richard Branson said on Oct. 11 that his Virgin Group would suspend its discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a planned $1 billion investment in the group’s space ventures, in light of events involving Khashoggi. (Reporting by Imani Moise in New York and Saeed Azhar in Dubai Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy in Washington Editing by Toni Reinhold and Grant McCool)

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