Turkey ‘taped murder of Saudi journalist’
Turks claim rock-solid evidence that hit squad from Riyadh killed leading dissident inside consulate
Turkish intelligence reportedly has recordings of Jamal Khashoggi being interrogated, tortured and murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The audio and video files are purported to show that a team of Saudi operatives killed and dismembered the dissident journalist, according to The Washington Post, for which Mr Khashoggi wrote. Turkey, which has not confirmed the recordings exist, is forming a joint investigation into the case with Saudi Arabia.
TURKISH intelligence reportedly has recordings of Jamal Khashoggi being interrogated, tortured and murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
US officials have been told by their Turkish counterparts that the audio and video recordings prove a team of Saudi operatives killed and dismembered the dissident Saudi journalist, according to The Washington Post, for whom Mr Khashoggi wrote columns.
Turkey has not confirmed that the recordings exist, although pro-government media has alluded to them several times in recent days.
Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied involvement in Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct 2, and has insisted he left the consulate safely after filing papers for his forthcoming marriage. However, as anger towards Riyadh grew in Washington and Turkey claimed to have comprehensive evidence of Saudi guilt, there were signs the Saudi position may be shifting.
The fallout is battering the image of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince who presents himself as a reformer. Leading businesses added to the pressure by pulling out of an investment summit in Saudi Arabia.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia said they were forming a joint investigation into the case, a sign of a possible thaw between the two countries.
Saudi officials landed in Istanbul yesterday to begin coordinating the work and weekend talks are expected, after Turkey reportedly threatened to start interrogating Saudi diplomats if Riyadh did not offer full co-operation.
The Saudi ambassador to Washington also abruptly flew home for consultations. “We expect some information when he gets back,” said a spokeswoman for the US state department.
The recordings apparently show that members of the 15-man Saudi squad went from the consulate building to the consul-general’s nearby residence, where the Turks believe Mr Khashoggi’s body may have been disposed of.
Mohammad al-otaibi, the consulgeneral, has cancelled all appointments and has not left home in days.
Turkish media have reported that police were interested in a Saudi diplomatic van that travelled a long way on the eastern side of Istanbul, where there is less CCTV coverage, on Oct 2.
Sir Richard Branson announced he was freezing his dealings with the Saudi government over the case. Saudi Arabia had been looking to invest in his Virgin Galactic space tourism firm.
Dara Khosrowshahi, the Uber chief executive, said he might not attend this month’s Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia, amid the allegations.
Last night, Donald Trump, the US president, said he was yet to speak to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman but would do so “at some point”.