Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Turkey gave Khashoggi murder tapes to key foreign nations - Erdogan

Turkey gave Khashoggi murder tapes to key foreign nations - Erdogan

Saudi officials claim the murder of Khashoggi was unsanctioned, something that blows past the boundaries of plausibility, and have detained 18 suspects.

Jamal Khashoggi, a USA resident, was murdered in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and the crown prince has been accused of orchestrating the killing, which has strained the decades-old alliance between Washington and Riyadh.

Nader and Zamel, who are both witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, have been questioned by prosecutors about their discussions with United States and Saudi officials about the Iran proposal, the paper reported.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last month, Saudi Arabia shifted its explanation in an apparent effort to ease global outrage over the death, characterising the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who exceeded their authority.

Media reports have suggested that his body could have been chemically dissolved.

After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia admitted that the murder was premeditated in a "rogue" operation.

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.

"We gave the recordings, we gave them to Saudi Arabia, we gave them to Washington, to the Germans, to the French, to the English", he said in a televised speech. "They know for certain who among the 15 is the killer or are the killers", he said. "The prosecutor came to Turkey to make excuses, make things hard", he said.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Istanbul, said the residence was searched by Turkish investigators two weeks after the killing. "I have always said since the beginning, these 15 people who came here [Turkey], with plus three, 18 people are now arrested [in Saudi Arabia]", he noted.

Khashoggi's sons have appealed to Riyadh to return the body of their father so that the grieving family can bury him in a cemetery in the holy city of Medina with the rest of his clan.

Also in a meeting in Paris on Saturday, Mr Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron said the Saudi authorities should shed full light on the murder, Reuters quoted French presidential sources as saying.

Before heading to France, Erdogan said he had prior to his news conference spoken by telephone to US President Donald Trump and would meet with the US leader in Paris "if we find the opportunity".

The two reportedly agreed that the case should not be used to create further destabilisation in the Middle East and said it could be used to help end the war in Yemen, which Riyadh has a lead role in.

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