News­pa­per says Turkey has au­dio of Saudi writer’s slay­ing

Texarkana Gazette - - NATION/WORLD - By Zeynep Bilginsoy and Jon Gambrell Gambrell re­ported from Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates. As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers Zeke Miller and Dar­lene Superville in Wash­ing­ton and Suzan Fraser in Ankara con­trib­uted to this re­port.

IS­TAN­BUL—Turk­ish of­fi­cials have an au­dio record­ing of the al­leged killing of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi from the Ap­ple Watch he wore when he walked into the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul over a week ago, a pro-gov­ern­ment Turk­ish news­pa­per re­ported Sat­ur­day.

The new claim pub­lished by the Sabah news­pa­per, through which Turk­ish se­cu­rity of­fi­cials have leaked much in­for­ma­tion about the case, puts more pres­sure on Saudi Ara­bia to ex­plain what hap­pened to Khashoggi.

Also Sat­ur­day, Ankara’s top diplo­mat re­it­er­ated a call to Saudi Ara­bia to open up its con­sulate, from where Khashoggi dis­ap­peared, for Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties to search.

The writer, who has writ­ten crit­i­cally about Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, van­ished af­ter he walked into the con­sulate on Oct. 2. The king­dom has main­tained the al­le­ga­tions against it are “base­less,” though an of­fi­cial early on Sat­ur­day—on Khashoggi’s 60th birth­day—ac­knowl­edged for the first time that some be­lieve the writer was killed by the king­dom.

The dis­ap­pear­ance has put pres­sure on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has en­joyed close re­la­tions with the Saudis since en­ter­ing of­fice.

On Sat­ur­day, Trump ex­pressed con­cern about Khashoggi’s fate and lack of an­swers, so many days af­ter the jour­nal­ist dis­ap­peared.

“Our first hope was that he was not killed but maybe that’s not look­ing too good from what we hear but there’s a lot to learn, there re­ally is,” Trump said at the White House while wel­com­ing back Amer­i­can pas­tor An­drew Brun­son, freed af­ter nearly two years of de­ten­tion in Turkey.

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties re­cov­ered the au­dio from Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud ac­count, the news­pa­per said. The jour­nal­ist had given his phones to his fi­ancée be­fore en­ter­ing the con­sulate.

The news­pa­per also al­leged Saudi of­fi­cials tried to delete the record­ings first by in­cor­rectly guess­ing Khashoggi’s PIN on the watch, then later us­ing the jour­nal­ist’s fin­ger. How­ever, Ap­ple Watches do not have a fin­ger­print ID un­lock func­tion like iPhones. The news­pa­per did not ad­dress that in its re­port.

An Ap­ple Watch can record au­dio and can sync that later with an iPhone over a Blue­tooth con­nec­tion if it is close by. The news­pa­per’s ac­count did not elab­o­rate on how the Ap­ple Watch synced that in­for­ma­tion to both the phone and Khashoggi’s iCloud ac­count.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials have not an­swered queries from The As­so­ci­ated Press about Khashoggi’s Ap­ple Watch.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials say they be­lieve a 15-mem­ber Saudi “as­sas­si­na­tion squad” killed Khashoggi at the con­sulate. They’ve also al­leged that they have video of the slay­ing, but not ex­plained how they have it.

Turkey may be try­ing to pro­tect its in­tel­li­gence sources through leak­ing this way, an­a­lysts say.

But Car­rie Cordero, a se­nior fel­low at the Wash­ing­ton-based Cen­ter for a New Amer­i­can Se­cu­rity who for­merly worked on in­tel­li­gence mat­ters for the U.S. gov­ern­ment, wrote re­cently that “the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment may need to re­veal sources it does not want to re­veal if the Saudi Ara­bian gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to deny in­volve­ment de­spite ev­i­dence Turkey has in its pos­ses­sion.”

Saudi Ara­bia has said it had noth­ing to do with Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance, with­out ex­plain­ing or of­fer­ing ev­i­dence of how the writer left the con­sulate and dis­ap­peared into Is­tan­bul with his fi­ancée wait­ing out­side.

A Saudi-owned satel­lite news chan­nel has be­gun re­fer­ring to the 15-man team as “tourists,” with­out pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence to sup­port the claim. It echoes how Rus­sia has de­scribed the men who al­legedly car­ried out the Novi­chok nerve agent poi­son­ings in Salisbury, Eng­land, in March.

Early on Sat­ur­day, the staterun Saudi Press Agency pub­lished a state­ment from Saudi In­te­rior Min­is­ter Prince Ab­du­laziz bin Saud again deny­ing the king­dom’s in­volve­ment. This time, how­ever, it ac­knowl­edged for the first time that Saudi Ara­bia was ac­cused of killing Khashoggi.

“What has been cir­cu­lat­ing in terms of sup­posed or­ders to kill Ja­mal (Khashoggi) are out­right lies and base­less al­le­ga­tions against the King­dom’s gov­ern­ment, which is com­mit­ted to its prin­ci­ples, rules and tra­di­tions and is in com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional laws and con­ven­tions,” Prince Ab­du­laziz said.

Omer Ce­lik, a spokesman for Er­do­gan’s rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party, said that Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance will be “in­ves­ti­gated strongly.” A del­e­ga­tion from Saudi Ara­bia ar­rived in Turkey on Fri­day as part of a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

“Such an act is an at­tack on all the val­ues of the demo­cratic world. It’s an act that will never be for­given or cov­ered up,” he said. “This is not an act that Turkey would ever con­sider le­git­i­mate. If there are peo­ple who com­mit­ted this, it will have heavy con­se­quences.”

How­ever, Turkey’s For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said Saudi Ara­bia had not yet co­op­er­ated with Turkey on the search for Khashoggi. He said Turk­ish “pros­e­cu­tors and tech­ni­cal friends must en­ter” the con­sulate “and Saudi Ara­bia must co­op­er­ate with us on this.”

Ear­lier in the week, Saudi Ara­bia had said it would open the con­sulate for a search but that is yet to hap­pen. Cavu­soglu said Turkey would share in­for­ma­tion with Saudi Ara­bia in the “joint work­ing group” but stressed the Turk­ish in­ves­ti­ga­tion would con­tinue sep­a­rately.

Trump also said Sat­ur­day that “we would be pun­ish­ing our­selves” by can­cel­ing arms sales to Saudi Ara­bia. The sale is a “tremen­dous or­der for our com­pa­nies,” he said, and if the king­dom doesn’t buy its weaponry from the United States, they will buy it from Rus­sia or China.

Trump said that he would meet with Khashoggi’s fam­ily but that he has not dis­cussed Khashoggi with Saudi King Sal­man as he said Fri­day he would do.

Sep­a­rately, Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo spoke to Khashoggi’s fi­ancée, Hat­ice Cen­giz, who had ac­com­pa­nied him to the Saudi con­sulate. The State De­part­ment re­leased no de­tails of the con­ver­sa­tion.

In an in­ter­view Fri­day with the AP, Cen­giz said Khashoggi was not ner­vous when he en­tered the con­sulate to ob­tain pa­per­work re­quired for their mar­riage.

“He said, ‘See you later my dar­ling,’ and went in,” she told the AP.

In writ­ten re­sponses to ques­tions by the AP, Cen­giz said Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties had not told her about any record­ings and Khashoggi was of­fi­cially “still miss­ing.”

She said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were ex­am­in­ing his cell­phones, which he had left with her.

On Sat­ur­day, Cen­giz tweeted about a sur­prise party she had planned for Khashoggi’s birth­day, “in­vited all his close friends to a restau­rant on the #TheBosporus to cel­e­brate his birth­day but,” she said, adding the hash­tags “WhereIsJa­mal” and “my­dreamwaskilled.”

Global busi­ness lead­ers also are re­assess­ing their ties with Saudi Ara­bia, stok­ing pres­sure on the Gulf king­dom to ex­plain what hap­pened to Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, who was con­sid­ered close to the Saudi royal fam­ily, had be­come a critic of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment and Prince Mo­hammed, the 33-year-old heir ap­par­ent who has shown lit­tle tol­er­ance for crit­i­cism.

As a con­trib­u­tor to the Post, Khashoggi has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about Saudi Ara­bia, in­clud­ing crit­i­cism of its war in Ye­men, its re­cent diplo­matic spat with Canada and its ar­rest of women’s rights ac­tivists af­ter the lift­ing of a ban on women driv­ing.

Those poli­cies are all seen as ini­tia­tives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of ac­tivists and busi­ness­men.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.