ISTANBUL – Turkish authorities have shared the recordings related to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Although they had claimed he had left the building alive, Saudi authorities later acknowledged that Khashoggi, 60, was “accidentally” killed in what they said was a fight inside the Middle Eastern kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul after he entered it on Oct. 2 to collect some paperwork needed to get married.
“We have given the records to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, to Germany, to France, to the United Kingdom, we gave them to all of them,” Erdogan said to journalists at Ankara airport before flying to France to participate in the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that marked the end of World War I.
“They have listened to the conversations. There is no need to mull it over so much. They know with certainty who he is or who the killers are,” the Turkish president added.
Erdogan explained that the investigation indicated that a 15-man Saudi hit squad flew from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul on the same day of the murder of Khashoggi, who was known for his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s policies.
“We do not have documents, there are no findings. But there is information. These 15 people, with all certainty, know both who the murderer is, and to where the body was taken,” Erdogan said.
The Saudi journalist, who used to write for the Washington Post’s World Opinions section, was murdered inside his own country’s Istanbul consulate and his body was allegedly cut to pieces and then dissolved using a chemical substance, according to Turkish presidential adviser Yasin Aktay.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, said that Khashoggi’s body has been delivered to a “local collaborator” without giving additional details, so Erdogan questioned why Saudi authorities refused to identify who that person was, if there really was a body.
Furthermore, the Turkish president said that the Saudi chief prosecutor, according to an agreement between the two countries, was set to travel to Ankara to meet with his Turkish counterpart, but instead, the Turkish chief prosecutor was invited to visit the Arab country.
“What would our prosecutor have to do there?” Erdogan asked. “The crime scene is here. You have to talk here. Even the consul has left. It does not make sense to prolong things this way.”
“The murderer is among those 15 people. There is no need to search anywhere else,” the Turkish president stressed.
Erdogan has previously said that the orders for Khashoggi’s murder came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, although he excluded King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from suspicion.