News ID: 234205
Published: 0232 GMT November 13, 2018

Erdogan: Khashoggi recordings "appalling"

Erdogan: Khashoggi recordings "appalling"

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday recordings related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, which Turkey has shared with Western allies, are "appalling" and shocked a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to them.

Erdogan told reporters on his plane returning from a weekend visit to France that he discussed the Saudi journalist's killing with the US, French and German leaders there, adding that Turkey had played the recording to at least six countries, Reuters reported.

"The recordings are really appalling. 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'," he added.

Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 in a hit which Erdogan says was ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

Six weeks after Khashoggi's death, Turkey is trying to keep up pressure on Prince Mohammed and has released a stream of evidence that undermined Riyadh's early denials of involvement.

Prince Mohammed won support on Tuesday from US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said he did not think recordings of the killing shared by Turkey implicated the young crown prince.

Khashoggi's murder has provoked global outrage but little concrete action by major powers against Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a strong proponent of US policies.

President Donald Trump has expressed reluctance to punish Saudi Arabia economically, citing its multi-billion-dollar purchases of military equipment and investments in US firms.

 

Electric shock devices

The New York Times, in a report confirmed by a Turkish official, said a member of the Saudi team which was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi told one of his superiors after the killing to "tell your boss" – which the newspaper said was believed to be a reference to Prince Mohammed.

The individual was identified as Maher Mutreb, who reports to an aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani. Mutreb was also quoted as saying words to the effect that "the deed was done".

In his comments to reporters, Erdogan said it was clear the killing was planned and that the order came from the top level of Saudi authorities, but that he could not think such a thing of King Salman, for whom he has "limitless respect".

"The crown prince says 'I will clarify the matter, I will do what is necessary'. We are waiting patiently," Erdogan said, adding that the perpetrators of the killing were among 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia.

"It must be revealed who gave them the order to murder."

Turkey's pro-government newspaper Sabah reported on Tuesday that the luggage of the Saudi team that was sent to Istanbul at the time of Khashoggi's killing contained syringes, large scissors, staple guns, walkie-talkies, electric shock devices and a signal jammer.

It published photos of X-rays of bags taken as the Saudis passed through security checks at the airport when they left. Reuters could not immediately verify the Sabah report.

Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge or involvement in Khashoggi's killing, but Saudi public prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb later said it was planned in advance.  

 

 

   
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