Turkey’s president publicly acknowledged for the first time Saturday that tapes of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing exist and have been given to the U.S., Saudi Arabia and three other countries.
The Oct. 2 killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and activist, has sparked international outrage.
"We gave them the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, the French, to the British, to all of them," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said before departing for Paris to attend ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, according to The Associated Press.
"They (Saudi officials) also listened to the conversations and they know. There is no need to distort this. They know for certain who among the 15 is the killer or are the killers," he said.
He was referring to a 15-member assassination squad that Turkey believes was sent to kill Khashoggi at the consulate where he had arrived to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancee.
The White House declined to say whether it had a copy of the recording, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Turkish and American officials said CIA Director Gina Haspel listened to the recordings in Ankara, Turkey, last month, the paper reported.
Turkey says Khashoggi, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was strangled and dismembered at the consulate as part of a premeditated killing. Media reports have suggested that his body could have been chemically dissolved.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects who have been detained in Saudi Arabia, so they can be put on trial in Turkey. They include the 15 alleged assassination squad members.
Saudi Arabia first said Khashoggi disappeared after leaving the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, then said he died in a brawl.
More recently, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Turkish evidence indicates the slaying was premeditated.
“The recording was very convincing,” a senior German official told The Washington Post. The official said the head of the Federal Intelligence Service listened to the audio recording in Ankara.
The audio makes clear he suffered a drawn-out death, the paper reported, citing two Turkish officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.