Ankara has given recordings on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the US, Germany, France and Britain, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate last month in a hit that Erdoğan says was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.
Speaking as he left Turkey to attend first world war one commemorations in France, which are being attended by the US president and European leaders, Erdoğan said for the first time that the three European Union states had heard the recordings.
“We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, Germans, French and British, all of them. They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know,” Erdoğan said.
The CIA director, Gina Haspel, heard an audio recording of Khashoggi’s death when she visited Istanbul, two sources told Reuters last month. A senior Saudi envoy was also played a recording, a source familiar with the matter said.
Erdoğan did not give details of the contents of the tapes on Saturday but two sources with knowledge of the issue have told Reuters that Turkey has several audio recordings.
They include the killing itself and conversations pre-dating the operation that Turkey subsequently uncovered, the sources said. These had led Ankara to conclude from an early stage that the killing was premeditated, despite Saudi Arabia’s initial denials of any knowledge or involvement.
Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb has since said Khashoggi’s killing was planned in advance, although another Saudi official said Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the specific operation.
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