Khashoggi murder tapes ‘shocked’ Saudi intelligence – Erdogan


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the Jamal Khashoggi murder tapes “really shocked” Saudi officials. Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting that the kill team sent from Riyadh phoned home after the hit, saying “tell your boss.”

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference in Ankara, on November 10, 2018.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference in Ankara, on November 10, 2018. (AFP)

Saudi intelligence personnel were “really shocked” on listening to recordings of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told media while flying back to Turkey from France.

Turkey has shared the tapes with several key foreign countries,

“Saudi intelligence was really shocked by what they heard,” Erdogan, who was in France to attend the Armistice Day commemorations, said.

“The recordings are really appalling,” he said.

“Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: ‘This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes heroin would do this.'”

The Khashoggi tapes have been shared with Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain.

On Monday, Al Jazeera quoting a senior journalist of Turkish Sabah newspaper said the audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul also included Khashoggi’s last words: “I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic.”

Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on October 2, as part of plan which Erdogan said was ordered from the highest level in Riyadh.

TRT World’s Oubai Shahbandar has more.

Erdogan says Saudi king was not involved

Erdogan said he does “not believe for a second” that the crown prince’s father King Salman ordered the hit.

“I really respect and appreciate King Salman, so I can’t believe he’d do such a thing. This is impossible. I also told Mr Trump [US President] that there is no need to look around for his murderers,” Turkey’s president said.

“The murderers are among those 18 people. Including the Saudis, we’ve let every country who requested the recordings including US, France, Canada, Germany and the UK listen to them.”

After repeated denials, Riyadh finally admitted on October 20 that the 59-year-old Saudi journalist had been murdered at the mission in what it at the time called a “rogue” operation.

TRT World’s Alaattin Kilic has more.

‘Strongest evidence’ linking Saudi prince with murder

Despite Saudi claims that Khashoggi’s murder was a mistake, the The New York Times reported on Tuesday that an operative phoned home after the killing and said “tell your boss” that it’s done.

According to the Times, the recording of Khashoggi’s killing “shared last month with the CIA director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking [Crown] Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] to the killing of Mr Khashoggi.”

“While the prince was not mentioned by name, US intelligence officials believe ‘your boss’ was a reference to Prince Mohammed,” the newspaper said.

Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis in the hit squad sent to Istanbul to confront Khashoggi, made the telephone call and spoke in Arabic, according to the report.

TRT World’s Abubakr al Shamahi has this on how Khashoggi’s killing could affect US-Saudi relations.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies