Saudi Arabian officials "must prove" that journalist Khashoggi, who has been missing since last week, had left the Istanbul consulate, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says during a press conference in Hungary.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked Saudi officials to prove their claim that missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
"We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying 'he has left'," Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, where he is on a two-day visit.
Mere words no evidence
"If a person walks into premises and if he isn't stepping out, then who has to prove it?" Erdogan asked.
He said there are CCTVs in the Saudi consulate and if Khashoggi had really walked out of the building, the cameras would record it.
"If he left, you have to prove it with footage. Those who ask Turkish authorities where he is should ask them (Saudi officials) what happened."
Saudi officials insist Khashoggi left shortly after he entered but his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside, says he never came out.
Camera footage and airport records are being examined as part of Turkey's investigation.
Erdogan said "mere words [of Saudi officials] are not enough evidence."
Turkish officials fear Khashoggi was killed
Khashoggi, journalist and regular columnist for the Washington Post, has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish police investigating the case had said in a statement on Saturday that 15 Saudis, including several officials, had arrived in Istanbul on two planes and had entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside.
Turkish officials told Reuters news agency over the weekend that they believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate, allegations Saudi Arabia rejects.
Turkey wants to search consulate
On Monday, Turkey sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.
The request was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, NTV said.
Turkey conveyed its expectation of "full cooperation" from Riyadh in search of Khashoggi, Anadolu Agency reported.
TRT World's Liz Maddock has more.
The news agency, quoting a diplomatic source said, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Ankara Waleed A M Elkhereiji was summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry on Sunday.
"Deputy foreign minister Sedat Onal invited the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the ministry yesterday. Our expectation of full cooperation during the investigation process [on the missing journalist] was conveyed to him," sources told Anadolu Agency.
Reuters Turkey Bureau chief, Dominic Evans was shown around the consulate this weekend as Saudi officials continue to insist that talk of his kidnapping is baseless.
''They took us from the top to the bottom of the building, it is a four-storey building, it was obviously an usual event they said they had never before opened their doors in such a way it clearly was an usual move for them," Evans said.
"It reflected their efforts from their perspective to show that stories or rumours that Jamal Khashoggi had been adducted or was being held inside the consulate were not true.''
The British government on Monday said the allegations on the disappearance of Khashoggi are "extremely serious."
"These are extremely serious allegations," said a British Foreign Office representative in a statement.
"We are aware of the latest reports and are working urgently to establish the facts, including with the government of Saudi Arabia," the representative said.
Protests outside Saudi consulate
Meanwhile, a small group of journalists and NGO members staged a protest outside Saudi consulate in Istanbul to denounce the disappearance of Khashoggi.
Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate on Tuesday to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.
Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards, but his fiancee, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said this week that the kingdom would allow Turkey to search the consulate for Khashoggi.
On Sunday, Turkish President Erdogan said that it was very saddening that Khashoggi disappeared in Turkey.
"I am following the [issue], and we will inform the world of the outcome" of the official probe, Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.