Turkey gives US the record­ing of the Khashoggi killing

The Sun News (Sunday) - - News - BY DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK AND PETER BAKER

Turkey said Satur­day that it had pro­vided the United States and other coun­tries with an au­dio record­ing of the killing of Ja­mal Khashoggi, a Saudi­born dis­si­dent and U.S. res­i­dent who died in the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul last month.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan of Turkey said his govern­ment had turned over copies of the record­ing to the United States as well as France, Bri­tain, Ger­many and Saudi Ara­bia. He was speak­ing to re­porters be­fore fly­ing to Paris for an in­ter­na­tional gather­ing to com­mem­o­rate the end of World War I.

Turkey made the record­ing avail­able “to all of them, so they’ve also lis­tened to the con­ver­sa­tions, they know it,” Er­do­gan said. “There is no need to dis­tort this.” It is un­clear when or how the Turks shared the au­dio record­ing with the other gov­ern­ments.

It was the first time Er­do­gan has pub­licly ac­knowl­edged the ex­is­tence of the au­dio record­ings of the killing, pre­sum­ably ob­tained through sur­veil­lance by Turkish in­tel­li­gence agen­cies. The official con­fir­ma­tion will in­crease the pressure on Pres­i­dent Donald Trump and other Western lead­ers to de­mand ac­count­abil­ity for the killing, specif­i­cally from Saudi Ara­bia.

Khashoggi, who lived in Vir­ginia and wrote col­umns for The Wash­ing­ton Post, was killed when he went to the con­sulate in Is­tan­bul on Oct. 2 to pick up a pa­per nec­es­sary to fa­cil­i­tate his wed­ding. Af­ter ini­tially deny­ing any in­volve­ment, the Saudi govern­ment has ac­knowl­edged that he was killed in a pre­med­i­tated op­er­a­tion and de­tained 18 peo­ple as sus­pects. But the Saudis have not said who or­dered the killing.

Turkey has said Saudi Ara­bia sent a 15-mem­ber team to kill Khashoggi and dis­pose of his body. Khashoggi was said to be dis­mem­bered and his re­mains have yet to be found.

Turkish and Western of­fi­cials have pre­vi­ously dis­cussed the ex­is­tence of the au­dio record­ings only on the con­di­tion of anonymity. Turkish of­fi­cials have said that the au­dio in­cludes clear ev­i­dence of a pre­med­i­tated killing in which a team of Saudi agents moved quickly to dis­mem­ber Khashoggi’s body with a bone saw in or­der to dis­pose of his re­mains.

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