Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has said the Germany, France and Britain has been handed over all of the recorded proof that was with the Turkish authorities in relation to the murder of veteran journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Analysts view this as a strategy by Turkey to keep up international pressure on Riyadh in the issue.
Last month, Washington Post journalist and a critic of the Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following which Erdogan had alleged that the “highest levels” of the Saudi government had ordered the killing.
There was global criticism of the killing – especially the Western powers, even through very little concrete action by them was taken against Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is critical to the US strategy of containing Iran and its expanding influe3nce in the Middle East.
The three European Union states had heard the recordings, Erdogan said while talking to reporters on his way to attend the World War One commemorations in France which was attended by US President Donald Trump and European leaders.
“We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, Germans, French and British, all of them. They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know,” Erdogan said.
According to media reports, the recordings related to Khashoggi’s death have already been heard by CIA director Gina Haspel when she had visited last month.
No details of the contents of the tapes were however divulged by Erdogan. Reports however claimed that a number of audio tapes are in possession of Turkish authorities.
The content of the tapes reportedly include the act of the killing itself and recordings of conversations before the actual date of the operation which have subsequently been uncovered by Turkey. These audio tapes were the basis that Turkey had concluded very early into the incident that the killing had been a well planned one even though Saudi government had initially continuously denied any involvement in the killing. .
However more recently, acceptance of the killing of Khashoggi as being a pre-planned murder was made by Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb. He however also stressed that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the specific operation.
While disclosing the handing over of the tapes to three Western countries, Erdogan gave a call to Riyadh to identify the killer and said that the killer must have been in the team of delegation that has come to Turkey k\just hours before Khashoggi disappeared.
“There’s no need to distort this issue, they know for certain that the killer, or the killers, is among these 15 people. Saudi Arabia’s government can disclose this by making these 15 people talk,” Erdogan said.
Allegation of non-cooperation against Mojeb was also made by Erdogan. Mojeb had visited Istanbul to hold meetings about the investigation with his Turkish counterpart and inspect the Istanbul consulate. “The prosecutor came to Turkey to make excuses, make things difficult,” he said.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)