Turkey 'patiently' waiting for Saudi insights into killing

Clay Curtis
November 13, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday the USA will hold accountable all involved in the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist in a wide-ranging telephone call that also took in the conflict in Yemen.

Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a security officer, made the call.

Mutreb - a security officer who frequently travelled with Prince Mohammed - is the man named by Turkish media as the head of the operation against Khashoggi.

Nonetheless, the recording is "still not irrefutable evidence of his involvement in the death" of Khashoggi, the Times reported.

He added: 'It is pretty incriminating evidence'.

After two weeks of denials that Riyadh had anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance, the kingdom eventually admitted he had died in a fight, before changing its story again to say the Turkish investigation's findings indicate his killing was premeditated.

Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and critic of the Saudi leadership, first visited the consulate on September 28 seeking a document that would certify his divorce and allow him to proceed with a marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. Media reports have suggested that his body could have been chemically dissolved.

The latest revelations could deal another blow to Saudi attempts to distance bin Salman from the gruesome murder, which has drawn an global outcry.

But the call was part of a recording Turkish officials played for Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel during her visit to Ankara in October, the Times reports.

He said that Turkey played the recordings to "all those who wanted them from us", including Saudi Arabia, the U.S., France, Canada, Germany and Britain.

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A reporter asked Trudeau at a press conference in Paris, France if "Canadian agents have heard these recordings".

On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first leader to confirm that his country's intelligence officials had listened to such a recording.

"Due process is in train at the moment in Saudi Arabia, and I was led to believe there will be rapid progress in making sure that people are brought to justice", he said.

Photo Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Saudi Arabia must take action to rid itself of "suspicion".

The paper said that al-Assiri attended a meeting in March 2017 in Riyadh where businessmen pitched a $2bn plan to use private intelligence operatives to try to sabotage the Iranian economy.

A representative of French intelligence listened to the audio recording and examined detailed information including a transcript on October 24, he added.

Erdogan said he does "not believe for a second" that the crown prince's father King Salman ordered the hit.

Khashoggi had criticized Saudi Arabia for not allowing open discussion and dissent; just before his death, he also discounted claims that the crown prince could be a force for reform.

"Our intelligence shared information with them on Oct 24, including the voice recordings", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. "It must be revealed who gave them the order to murder".

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