One of Khashoggi killers said 'I know how to cut' on audio, Erdoğan says

Turkish president also criticized the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman for saying Khashoggi had left the consulate, a claim he later reversed
Saturday, 15 December 2018 02:30

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that he had heard an audio recording in which a suspected killer of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi allegedly says: "I know how to cut well."

"The United States, Germany, France, Canada, we made them all listen... The man clearly says 'I know how to cut'. This man is a soldier. These are all in the audio recordings," Erdoğan said in a speech in Istanbul. 

Khashoggi was killed two months ago when The Washington Post columnist visited Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey for paperwork so he could get married. He was considered close to the Saudi royal family and was a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia. He advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Khashoggi repeatedly told his killers "I can't breathe" during his final moments, CNN reported on Monday, quoting a source who claimed they had read the full translated transcript of an audio recording.

Erdoğan said that the man heard in the recording was a high-level soldier and "morgue employee" who "openly" said he could dissect a body. 

The Turkish president on Friday slammed Riyadh for its changing account of how Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate. Riyadh has said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of the murder. Originally it had said Khashoggi had left the consulate. That was disputed by his Turkish fiancee, who had waited outside the building and said he never emerged.

"They think the world is dumb. This nation isn't dumb and it knows how to hold people accountable," Erdoğan said.

The president has repeatedly said he would not give up the case. Erdoğan ramped up pressure on Saudi Arabia after the U.S. Senate on Thursday delivered a rebuke to President Donald Trump for his support of Mohammed bin Salman, whom it blamed for the killing.

Riyad and Ankara are clashing over the murder of Khashoggi.

The Trump White House recently asked federal law enforcement agencies to look into legal ways to remove Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen from the US in an attempt to ease Erdoğan’s pressure after Saudi Arabia's murder of Khashoggi. Erdoğan has long demanded that Washington extradite Gülen.

Middle East insiders say some deeper subplots played into Khashoggi’s death — ties to Saudi intelligence and his past relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohammed bin Salman branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and one of his signature moves as heir to the Saudi throne was to cut off all ties with the rival Gulf nation of Qatar.

Erdoğan's AKP party has links to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The rivalry between Riyad and Ankara has its roots in the "Arab Spring" of 2011.