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Turkey gives recordings on Khashoggi's death to Saudis, US, Britain -- Erdogan

Recordings related to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death have been passed on to Saudi Arabia, the Unit...

Posted: Nov 12, 2018 4:34 AM
Updated: Nov 12, 2018 4:34 AM

Recordings related to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death have been passed on to Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.

Khashoggi was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

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Speaking before his departure to Paris for World War I commemorations, Erdogan said: "We passed on the recordings. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, French and the English -- we gave them all."

He did not elaborate on what was on the recordings.

Erdogan said the killer, or killers, would be known to the 18 suspects identified by Turkish authorities -- including 15 men who arrived from Saudi Arabia shortly before Khashoggi's death.

He again called on Saudi Arabia to provide answers as to what happened to Khashoggi and his body, which has not yet been found.

Erdogan has previously demanded that Saudi Arabia hand over the 18 suspects for prosecution in Turkey but the kingdom has insisted that those responsible for Khashoggi's death will be tried in Saudi Arabia.

The Turkish chief prosecutor said 10 days ago that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, as part of a premeditated plan, and his body dismembered.

Erdogan's confirmation that recordings relating to Khashoggi's death have been handed to key international players is the latest in a drip-feed of details released by Turkey in the weeks since the journalist disappeared.

Revelations from the Turkish side have helped to keep up diplomatic pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened.

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron both want to get "greater detail" about the events surrounding Khashoggi's killing, a French presidential spokesman said following a meeting between the pair Saturday in Paris.

Both leaders agreed "something very serious happened -- that this assassination was serious and unacceptable," the spokesman said at a briefing on the bilateral talks.

However, neither leader wants to do anything that could destabilize Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said, adding that the United States considered Saudi Arabia to be the "cornerstone of everything in the Middle East."

The leaders did not discuss what should happen to the culprits, the spokesman noted, describing it as an "internal Saudi matter."

The Saudis have presented shifting stories about the journalist's fate, initially denying any knowledge before arguing that a group of rogue operators, many of whom belong to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, were responsible for Khashoggi's death.

The Saudi attorney general then said the Turkish side had provided information indicating that the killing was premeditated. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister and Energy Minister have both described Khashoggi's death as "murder."

Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor his father, King Salman, knew of the operation to target Khashoggi. US officials have said such a mission -- including the 15 men sent from Riyadh -- could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, the country's de facto ruler.

After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman's media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service. Eighteen people were arrested.

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