The Turkish authorities have informed the United States of an audio recording documenting the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered on Tuesday the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, reported the Washington Post Thursday.
US president Donald Trump said that Saudi Arabia appears to be somewhat involved in the assassination or disappearance of Khashoggi, noting that the US, Turkey and other countries are investigating the case and will discover the truth.
The 15 Saudis who arrived in Istanbul on 2 October, the day Khashoggi disappeared, and visited the Saudi consulate, while the missing journalist was still there, were behind the alleged assassination. They transported then Khashoggi’s body outside the consulate.
The sources added that the Turkish government, which is employing a strategy of gradual media leakages of the information and evidence on Khashoggi’s case, told the Americans about the sound recording in its possession. Such move took place after The Washington Post has confirmed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has intercepted calls between Saudi officials discussing a designated attempt to lure the Saudi oppositionist into the consulate, before his disappearance.
Simultaneously, the American president stated that the truth about Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance “should be unveiled before discussing any arms deal with Saudi Arabia.” He added that it would be terrible and undoubtedly harmful if the Saudi kingdom were implicated in the journalist’s disappearance or death.
In an interview with Fox News, Trump explained that, after some congressmen threatened to dismantle the US arms deals with Riyadh, he wishes not to undertake a one-track approach on the issue, for such early demarche would harm the country’s national interests.
In another statement, Trump indicated that he spoke to Saudi officials at the highest level about the disappearance of the Saudi journalist. He expressed his willingness to invite Khashoggi’s fiancée to the White House, claiming that he is continuously in contact with her.
On the other hand, The New York Times quoted a source it did not name saying that the Turkish authority possesses a video documenting Khashoggi’s assassination inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
According to the newspaper’s source, who revealed, on condition of anonymity, that “The Turkish National Intelligence Organisation got a video clip of the murder, filmed by the Saudi assassination team to prove the execution of the task entrusted to them.
The New York Times published another scoop, endorsing the information disclosed by its secret source. Accordingly, Kemal Ozturk, a columnist for a newspaper close to the Turkish government and a former head of a semi-official news agency, claimed in an interview on a television network that “there is a video documenting the moment of Khashoggi’s death.”
The newspaper also quoted a senior Turkish official saying that Turkish security officials concluded that Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, following orders of the highest levels issued by the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia.
The official revealed that the assassination was complex but fast. Khashoggi was murdered within two hours of his arrival at the consulate at the hands of Saudi agents, who dismembered him using a bone saw they brought especially for this purpose.
Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have denied Khashoggi’s assassination and insisted that he left the consulate freely, shortly after his arrival. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked Saudis to provide proof of their claim.
Turkish officials, who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity, declined the demand to publicly disclose the evidence they had, noting at the same time that the possibility of unveiling such information could not be ruled out.