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Pompeo Meets With Erdogan Amid Fears Over Fate Of Missing Saudi Journalist


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (left) talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara on October 17.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss the case of a Saudi journalist who disappeared in Istanbul more than two weeks ago.

Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership, has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to sort out paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

Pompeo who flew into Turkey from Saudi Arabia, held two separate 40-minute meetings at an airport in Ankara with Cavusoglu and Erdogan.

Cavusoglu provided no details about the meetings, describing them only as "beneficial and fruitful."

Pompeo did not address reporters, but a U.S. State Department statement said he again offered U.S. assistance in Turkey's investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

"The secretary also expressed the United States' concern" over Khashoggi's disappearance, the statement said.

On October 16, Pompeo held meetings in Saudi Arabia with King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad, who was one of the main targets of Khashoggi's criticism.

Pompeo said he stressed the "importance of [Saudi authorities] conducting a complete investigation into the disappearance," and that the kingdom had vowed to do so.

Turkish police on October 16 undertook an eight-hour search at the consulate, taking away soil and DNA samples, but a search expected at the consul's residence has so far not taken place.

On October 17, pro-government Turkish media outlets published allegations that Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and contributor to The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a Saudi assassination squad.

Media reports also said authorities have an audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters