An audio recording tracking the dying moments of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has been shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany in addition to the United States, the Turkish president said Saturday.
“We gave it to Saudi Arabia,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at Ankara airport before departing for Paris for commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. “We gave it to America. To the Germans, French, English, we gave it to all of them.”
It was the first time that Erdogan has publicly acknowledged the existence of audio recording that Turkish officials say backs the assertion that Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post World Opinions section, was killed by a 15-member Saudi hit team after he entered the consulate on Oct. 2.
A senior German official said that the head of the Federal Intelligence Service received a briefing and listened to the audio recording during a trip to Ankara. “The recording was very convincing,” the official said.
The White House and Elysee Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The British foreign office said it was “not confirming or denying” Erdogan’s comments.
U.S. officials have said that CIA director Gina Haspel listened to the recording during a trip to Turkey last month.
Two Turkish officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic, said that the audio makes clear that Khashoggi suffered a drawn out death. He is choked for around seven minutes before he dies, they said.
One said he had been told directly by the president that the killers took seven and a half minutes to choke Khashoggi to death. The other, said he had been briefed by someone who had heard it. Neither said they had heard the tape themselves.
Turkey has not said how it obtained a recording from inside the consulate. Wiretapping of foreign missions breaches the Vienna Convention. Turkish newspapers had run stories on how the recording was made by Khashoggi’s Apple Watch, a scenario that was met with skepticism by experts.
Saudi Arabia now acknowledges that Khashoggi was intentionally killed in the building and says it has arrested 18 suspects. It also has fired two senior officials close to Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: The Washington Post