Turkey has not shared with the US government or key European allies graphic audio or video evidence it allegedly collected on US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s visit to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, seven US and European security officials have told Reuters.
Two weeks after Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2, the US and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.
The sources, who requested anonymity, spoke with Reuters on Tuesday and yesterday.
Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak published yesterday what it said were details from audio recordings purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s torture and interrogation.
It reported that his torturers severed his fingers during an interrogation, and that Khashoggi was killed within minutes. According to the report, his body was later beheaded and dismembered by his killers.
Turkish sources told Reuters earlier this week that the authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and that they were sharing it with countries, including Saudi Arabia and the US.
The reluctance of the Turks to turn over hard evidence they have said they have documenting Khashoggi’s fate has led US and European security officials to assess that the most brutal accounts of Khashoggi’s demise are likely accurate, the sources said.
US President Donald Trump appeared to confirm the lack of evidence in US hands when he said on Wednesday that the United States had asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence it may have related to Khashoggi.
“We have asked for it, if it exists ... I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does,” Trump said.
“I’ll have a full report on that from Mike (Pompeo) when he comes back ... That’s going to be the first question I ask,” he said.
Meanwhile, a small group of Turkish investigators examined the Saudi consulate in Istanbul yesterday, a Reuters photographer said, the second such search this week of the premises after Khashoggi disappeared.
The search at the consulate appeared to mostly focus on the backyard, the photographer said.
Turkish investigators had searched the consulate for several hours earlier. They also started searching the Saudi consul’s residence yesterday.
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