Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings 'appalling', shocked Saudi intelligence

Lester Mason
November 14, 2018

Pictures from Istanbul's Ataturk airport show syringes, scissors and staple-guns in the 15-man hit squad's luggage, according to Turkey's pro-government newspaper Sabah.

The tours are the latest public outreach by the king, apparently meant to shore up the power of the crown prince, who has taken over day-to-day rule but whose worldwide reputation was battered since Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on october 2.

The same person also told the person on the other end of the line to "tell your boss", a reference intelligence officials believe is the strongest evidence yet linking de facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Khashoggi's murder, according to the Times.

John Bolton, a national security adviser and key member of the Donald Trump administration, said that "those who have listened" to the recording also say that the crown prince, commonly referred to as MBS, was not involved. Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis dispatched to Istanbul to confront Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate there, is reported to have made the phone call and spoke in Arabic to relay the message to "the boss" that the operation to kill Jamal was successful.

On Monday, speaking from Paris, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that his country's intelligence services had listened to the audio, although he says that he personally had not heard the tapes.

"The recordings are really appalling", Erdogan added on Monday. 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'".

Under intensifying pressure, Riyadh has changed its story about Khashoggi's death, first saying he walked out of the consulate the day he disappeared but eventually acknowledging he was killed inside the building.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan described the recording as "appalling, " Turkish media reported Tuesday.

Erdogan has also said that the killing was ordered by the "highest levels" of the Saudi government, without making any specific accusations. "We are waiting patiently", Erdogan said, adding that the perpetrators of the killing were among 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia.

The latest move of global community to pressure Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, came on Monday from the U.K. The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with King Salman, MBS and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday in Riyadh regarding the issue. More recently, a government source familiar with the matter said Qahtani featured prominently throughout the recordings. The images are said to have been taken as the Saudis passed through security checks at the terminal when they left the country.

Erdogan has not given details of the contents of the tapes but two sources with knowledge of the issue have told Reuters that Turkey has several audio recordings.

Bolton added that he didn't expect the issue to affect arms deals between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, despite USA lawmakers' calls for sanctions in response to Khashoggi's killing, reported The Hill.

These had led Ankara to conclude from an early stage that the killing was premeditated, despite Saudi Arabia's initial denials of any knowledge or involvement.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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