Turkey ‘taped mur­der of Saudi journalist’

Turks claim rock-solid ev­i­dence that hit squad from Riyadh killed lead­ing dis­si­dent in­side con­sulate

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Raf Sanchez in Is­tan­bul

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”.

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