Turkey has second audio recording of Khashoggi murder: report

Turkey has second audio recording of Khashoggi murder: report
A second, longer audio recording reportedly reveals that Khashoggi's murder was premeditated.
3 min read
16 November, 2018
A candle vigil for slain journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi [Getty]

Turkey has more evidence contradicting the Saudi narrative of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi including a second audio recording, local media reported, as Turkey continues its steady drip of news releases to pressure its regional rival.

The second voice recording - said to be 15 minutes - clearly reveals that the murder of the Washington Post columnist had been premeditated, the Hurriyet newspaper said. 

That would contradict the statement of the Saudi prosecutor who said on Thursday that five Saudi officials faced the death penalty on charges of killing Khashoggi but exonerated the country's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of involvement in the murder.

Khashoggi, 59, a critic of the crown prince, was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Turkey has said the murder was carried out by a team of Saudis who travelled to Istanbul for that purpose. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order came from "the highest levels" of the Riyadh government, but stopped short of pointing the finger of blame at the crown prince. 

Abdulkadir Selvi, pro-government columnist in the Hurriyet daily, said key findings in the Saudi prosecutor's statement did not overlap with the evidence in the hands of Turkey including two voice recordings.

He claimed that the first seven-minute voice recording proves that Khashoggi was strangled but the second tape recorded shortly before the journalist stepped into the consulate clearly shows the murder was planned in advance.

The second tape proves the 15-member "killer team" seated inside the consulate before Khashoggi's arrival was discussing how to carry out the murder, he said.

Turkey also has evidence that the team made international calls after the murder, he added.

Saudi prosecutors on Thursday announced indictments against 11 people and said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing.

It said execution would be recommended for five of them who "are charged with ordering and committing the crime".

Turkey however said the Saudi statement was "insufficient", with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisting that the killing was "premeditated."

Turkey has shared audio recordings of Khashoggi's murder with NATO allies, including the US, Germany and Canada.

Canada's PM Justin Trudeau has confirmed his country's intelligence agencies have listened to the recordings.

Experts say Turkey, which is the world's worst jailer of journalists, is using its leverage over Khashoggi's murder to extract concessions from Riyadh and its backer Washington.

The Trump administration reportedly wants Ankara to avoid directly blaming MbS for the murder, and has signalled it is willing to expel US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara blames for the failed 2016 coup attempt.

Donald Trump made his first official foreign visit as US president to Saudi Arabia, and has made Riyadh and its powerful crown prince the cornerstone of its regional policy to contain Iran. 

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