Writer’s slay­ing on au­dio?

News­pa­per says Turkey has record­ing of Saudi act


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 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. He said he an­tic­i­pated speak­ing to the Saudi ruler Sat­ur­day or to­day.

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.

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.

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