Photo surfaces of doomed reporter walking into Saudi Consulate

People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Officials leave Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 7, 2018.

US President Donald Trump, in his first comments on the case of disappeared Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said he was "concerned" and hoped the case would "sort itself out".

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing writer who had been critical of the Salman government, has been living for a year in self-imposed exile in the United States after a Riyadh crackdown on dissent in the kingdom. Erdogan said of the consular officials.

Turkey's state-run news agency, quoting police, says 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul on two planes and were inside the consulate building when Khashoggi went missing.

The image released by the Post bore a date and date stamp.

The newspaper said "a person close to the investigation" had shared the image with them.

The door Khashoggi walked in through appeared to be the main entrance of the consulate in Istanbul's 4th Levent neighbourhood, a leafy, upscale district near the city's financial hub that's home to several other consulates.

Yasin Aktay, who advises Erdogan in his ruling AK Party, also told Reuters that Turkish authorities believed a group of 15 Saudi nationals were "most certainly involved" in the matter, and added that statements by Saudi officials on the absence of camera records were not honest. His fiancee, who had waited outside, said he never came out. Security camera footage shows boxes being loaded into the van, which carried diplomatic number plates. However, they have failed to provide any proof that the journalist left.

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Fred Hiatt, director of The Washington Post's editorial page, issued a statement calling Khashoggi's possible murder a "monstrous and unfathomable act".

Jamal Khashoggi went to the consulate last Tuesday to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could remarry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Underscoring that Saudi Arabia is going through a "serious transformation" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he quoted an English king: "What affects the people must be discussed by the people". Relations were already strained after Turkey sent troops to the Gulf state of Qatar a year ago in a show of support after its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, imposed an embargo on Doha.

"Opposition to the young crown prince in the ruling family will most likely grow", warned Ayham Kamel, the head of Mideast and North Africa research at the Eurasia Group.

The country has demanded Saudi Arabia prove he left - despite not giving evidence of the claim he was killed inside.

During a press conference in Hungary on Monday, Erdogan said he himself was following the investigation, saying it was his political and humanitarian duty.

A Turkish official said the Saudi ambassador met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Sunday at the ministry.

"The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do".

Kislakci also alleged, based on conversations with officials he did not name, that Khashoggi was made to "faint", then was dismembered.

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