By Merve Aydogan
ANKARA (AA) – The foreign ministers of Group of Seven (G7) countries on Wednesday expressed their distress over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., U.S. and the High Representative of the European Union affirmed "commitment to defending freedom of expression and protection of a free press" in a written statement.
"We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account," the statement added.
The G7 countries further encouraged Turkish-Saudi collaboration regarding the missing journalist case and added that they "look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation, as announced.”
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, has long been feared killed at the consulate after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.
On Monday, Turkish and Saudi officials searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after the start of a joint probe into the missing journalist.
Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of what happened to Khashoggi, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K. — are pressing for the mystery to be cleared up as soon as possible.