Turkey searches Saudi consulate as Trump speaks of 'rogue killers'

Turkey searches Saudi consulate as Trump speaks of 'rogue killers'

Istanbul: Turkish police on Monday searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for the first time since journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing, as US President Donald Trump floated the idea that "rogue killers" could be to blame for his disappearance.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed, a claim Saudi Arabia has denied with the controversy dealing a huge blow to the kingdom's image and efforts by its youthful crown prince to showcase a reform drive.

Trump despatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom for what the State Department described as "face to face meetings with the Saudi leadership" to find out what happened.

Until now, Riyadh has not allowed Turkish investigators to search the consulate -- officially Saudi territory, with reports both sides were at odds over the conditions.

But late Monday evening, after Turkish authorities placed high iron barriers in front of the consulate, a motorcade of six cars drew up and Turkish police and prosecutors entered the premises.

Some police were in uniform while other officials were in suits carrying printers and files, an AFP correspondent said.

Dozens of media organisations, some of whom had set up tents, have kept a constant vigil utside the consulate in the expectation that the search would finally begin.

A Saudi delegation had entered the consulate one hour before the Turkish police arrived and appeared still to be inside as the search was conducted.