The recordings that the Turkish authorities have at their disposal contradict the results of the Saudi probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Hurriyet reported on Friday, citing law enforcement sources.
According to the Hurriyet newspaper, Turkey has a seven-minute audio recording of Khashoggi’s desperate attempts to survive, while nobody seems to be seeking to convince him to return to his home country.
Turkish officials also reportedly did not confirm that the journalist had been killed with a drug injection, believing that he was “strangled with a rope or something like a plastic bag.”
The media outlet claimed that Ankara also has a recording made minutes before Khashoggi arrived in the consulate general. In the 15-minute recording, the Saudi operatives are discussing the murder plan as well as the role of each member of the hit squad.
The report refuted the kingdom’s latest version of events voiced by the Saudi prosecutor general’s office on Thursday. According to it, the head of the special Saudi team, which arrived in the consulate general in Istanbul, ordered his subordinates to kill the journalist if they fail to force him to return to Riyadh. After the failed attempts to force him to return, Khashoggi had been killed with a drug injection. Then his body had been dismembered and taken out of the consulate.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s acknowledgement that the journalist had been killed in a fight inside the consulate came after two weeks of denials and growing pressure from Western allies to provide explanations.
On October 26, the Saudi prosecutor general acknowledged that the journalist’s murder was premeditated. However, Riyadh maintains that the killing had nothing to do with the Saudi Royal family, describing it as a rogue operation.