A Saudi delegation has arrived in Turkey for talks on missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, officials said Friday, with Riyadh and Ankara sharply at odds over how he disappeared last week from the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.
The Saudi team landed in Ankara amid increasing global pressure on the kingdom to clarify his fate. It is expected to meet Turkish authorities at the weekend, the official Anadolu Agency said.
As the controversy intensified, the Washington Post reported Turkish officials had recordings made from inside the building that allegedly proved their claims Khashoggi was tortured and killed at the consulate.
His case risks hurting not only Turkish-Saudi relations but also damaging the image of the kingdom and its ties to the West as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promotes a reform drive at home.
Big names from media and business have already canceled appearances at a major conference in Riyadh this month.
Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished on Oct. 2 after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.
Turkish government sources say police believe he was killed but Riyadh denies that.
It is likely that they will take part in a joint working group on the case, whose creation was announced Thursday by Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın following a request by Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi official source quoted by the official SPA news agency said it was "a positive move" Turkey had agreed to the creation of what it described as a "joint action team" over Khashoggi's disappearance.
In a rare public comment on the case by a Saudi official, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf al Saud, told the BBC that Riyadh was "concerned" about its citizen.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi left safely.
The Washington Post reported the Turkish government has told U.S. officials it has audio and video recordings which show how Khashoggi was "interrogated, tortured and then murdered" inside the consulate before his body was dismembered.
Despite Riyadh's agreement on Tuesday to let Turkish authorities search the Saudi mission, the probe has not yet taken place. The two sides have been in intense contacts to resolve the issue, local media reported.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national living self-imposed exile in the U.S. since September 2017, criticized some policies of Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh's intervention in the war in Yemen.