Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: U.S. asks Turkey for recording evidence

Jamal Khashoggi

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an emergency trip to Riyadh this week to discuss Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to be dead at the hands of Saudi officials.

Turkey has not shared with the US government or key European allies graphic audio or video evidence it allegedly collected on USA -based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's visit to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, seven USA and European security officials told Reuters.

Saudi officials say Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after entering but CCTV suggests otherwise.

Turkish officials claim to have audio proving that Khashoggi's fingers were cut off and that he was later beheaded and dismembered.

Khashoggi had reportedly been injected with a substance prior to his dismemberment that did not kill him right away.

Earlier Wednesday, he told Fox Business that the USA relies on the kingdom to fight terrorism.

A steady drip of leaks from police, diplomatic and intelligence sources have claimed that the 60-year-old was murdered for his opposition to the Saudi regime, allegations the Gulf kingdom has called "baseless".

Reports in Turkish media give gruesome details of what are said to be his final minutes.

He rejected suggestions he was trying to provide cover for Saudi Arabia: "No, not at all, I just want to find out what's happening".

"I do think it's important that everyone. keep in their mind that we have lots of important relationships - financial relationships between USA and Saudi companies, governmental relationship, things we work on together all across the world", Pompeo said.

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"We have asked for it, if it exists. I have strong opinions but that (the investigation) is the job of the judiciary", he said, adding that the search of the residence would take place only when there is a joint agreement with Riyadh.

The Saudis have strongly denied those allegations but USA media outlets have reported that they will acknowledge he was killed in a botched interrogation. Though Ozturk didn't spell it out, such an arrangement effectively would translate into allowing the affair to be buried with a few "rogue" officials, as Trump put it, being pinned with the blame. He also reportedly was close to the Saudi crown prince, and has been photographed near him on several global trips.

Other Western nations, although expressing concern about the incident, face a similar delicate situation in their dealings with the world's top oil exporter.

Trump said he hopes the Saudis' own investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance will be concluded in "less than a week".

On Tuesday, Pompeo had "direct and candid " talks with King Salman, the king's son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, as well as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on October 16, 2018.

A State Department spokeswoman said Pompeo had not heard any audio recording purporting to indicate Khashoggi was killed.

Yeni Safak, which is close to the government, quotes him as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul: "Do this outside".

Turkish police on Wednesday began searching the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul for their investigation, with forensics experts in white overalls entering the building, an AFP correspondent said.


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