The recordings that the Turkish authorities have at their disposal contradict the results of the Saudi probe into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, local media reported on Friday, citing law enforcement sources.
On Thursday, the Saudi prosecutor general's office provided the kingdom's latest version of events. According to it, the head of the special Saudi team, which arrived in the consulate general in Istanbul, ordered his subordinates to kill Khashoggi if they fail to force him to return to Riyadh. After the failed attempts to force him to return, Khashoggi had been killed with a drug injection. Then his body had been dismembered and taken out of the consulate.
According to the Hurriyet newspaper, Ankara has a seven-minute audio recording of Saudi citizen Khashoggi’s desperate attempts to survive, while nobody seems to be seeking to convince him to return to his home country.
Turkish officials also reportedly did not confirm that Khashoggi had been killed with a drug injection, believing that he was "strangled with a rope or something like a plastic bag."
The media outlet claimed that Ankara also has a recording made minutes before Khashoggi arrived in the consulate general. In the 15-minute recording, the Saudi operatives are discussing the murder plan as well as the role of each member of the hit squad.
Khashoggi, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family was a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia. He advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Middle East insiders say some deeper subplots played into Khashoggi’s death — ties to Saudi intelligence and his relationship with the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
On October 26, the Saudi prosecutor general acknowledged that the Khashoggi's murder was premeditated. However, Riyadh maintains that the killing had nothing to do with the Saudi Royal family, describing it as a rogue operation.