After returning from the Remembrance Day commemoration in Paris, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists that a Saudi Arabian intelligence official was shocked after listening to the audio recording of the killing of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“All those who asked have listened to the audio recording of this murder. Our intelligence organisation did not conceal anything. Besides Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom listened to this recording. The [content of the] tape is a real calamity. Even the intelligence officer of the Saudis was shocked when he listened to the recording, as he said ‘This guy [perpetrator] is perhaps using heroin, only a man on heroin can do such a thing’,” Erdogan told reporters.
The Turkish president also stressed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised to “shed light on this incident” and do “whatever is necessary”.
The Turkish side dismissed his comments as unacceptable, claiming that if it wasn’t for Turkey’s “determined efforts”, the case would have already been covered up.
In the meantime, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the country’s intelligence had listened to the tapes, although he hadn’t heard them himself.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Erdogan wrote that “we knew that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.” At the same time, he emphasised that he didn’t believe that Saudi King Salman, “the custodian of the holy mosques, ordered the hit on Khashoggi”.
The journalist died in an altercation with people who met him inside, and, according to the Istanbul prosecutor, his body was dismembered and destroyed after he was strangled to death.
Riyadh has consistently denied the royal family’s involvement in the incident, branding the killing a “rogue operation”.
Saudi authorities announced that 18 suspects had been arrested as part of the ongoing probe, while Turkey is conducting a separate investigation, alleging that Khashoggi was killed by a 15-member hit squad sent from Saudi Arabia the day before he went missing.