Officials from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other countries have listened to recordings of the brutal slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate, Turkey’s president admitted Saturday.
In the first public acknowledgement of the existence of the tapes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added that Saudi Arabia had to “act fairly” and reveal who was responsible for the slaying.
“We gave them the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, the French, to the British, to all of them,” Erdogan said. “They (Saudi officials) also listened to the conversations and they know. There is no need to distort this. They know for certain who among the 15 is the killer or are the killers.”
The reference was to a suspected assassination squad that Turkey believes was sent to kill Khashoggi at the consulate. Khashoggi, who visited the consulate on Oct. 2 to get papers for his marriage, was tortured and dismembered.
CIA Director Gina Haspel is believed to have heard the audio recordings, which were leaked to the media but never confirmed until now.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects who have been detained in Saudi Arabia, but Erdogan claims the country’s chief prosecutor is using “delaying tactics.”
“Saudi Arabia needs to accept that (the killer) is among the 18 and needs to get rid of the suspicion by responding to Turkey’s good will and acting fairly,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan made the comments before leaving for France to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He said he may meet with President Trump, who also is in Paris.
“When we go to Paris, we will try to secure an opportunity and we will realize a bilateral meeting,” Erdogan said.