Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings ‘appalling’, shocked Saudi intelligence

Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings ‘appalling’, shocked Saudi intelligence

Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings ‘appalling’, shocked Saudi intelligence

A member of the Saudi kill team responsible for the assassination at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul reportedly can be heard saying on the phone, "tell your boss" and "the deed was done", after Khashoggi was murdered.

Bob Baer, who worked as a Central Intelligence Agency case officer primarily in the Middle East, told CNN's Jake Tapper that the United States has purposely muted its response to Khashoggi's murder, despite mounting evidence - including audio recordings - that some suggest implicates the Saudi Crown Prince. The recording is seen by intelligence officers as some of the strongest evidence linking the power behind the Saudi throne to the murder, the report said, citing three unidentified people familiar with the recording.

Last month, two intelligence sources told Reuters that one of the crown prince's top aides, Saud al-Qahtani, gave orders via Skype to Khashoggi's killers at the consulate.

Turkish and US officials, including US National Security Adviser John Bolton, have said that the audio does not conclusively link the killing to Prince Mohammed.

Though the audio recording does not conclusively implicate Crown Prince, analysts say it's an important clue.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and USA resident, was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. According to the Istanbul prosecutor, he was strangled to death and dismembered shortly after entering the consulate. "Saudi Arabia is a volcano and to try and push the Crown Prince out, we don't have any players [in Saudi Arabia] on our side, so we don't know what to do", Baer said.

The release of the X-ray images reinforces Turkish officials' beliefs that the murder was planned and orchestrated from the Saudi capital Riyadh, rather than being an interrogation gone wrong as Saudi Arabia has previously claimed.

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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.

But Turkish officials say they played them the recordings but did not hand them over.

After initial denials, Saudi officials acknowledged the killing was premeditated and media reports have suggested that his body could have been chemically dissolved.

Mohammed bin Salman has rose from being a relatively little-known royal to the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia, after the elevation of his father, Salman, to king.

A few days ago, the same newspaper revealed Khashoggi's last words to the assassins who ended his life.

Amid a USA souring on the heir apparent, the United States has also curbed cooperation and demanded a halt to the Saudi-led military campaign against rebels in Yemen that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis believed to be the worst in the world.

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

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