ANKARA, Turkey – An audio recording of the dying moments of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany, alongside the United States, Turkey's leader said Saturday.
"We gave it to Saudi Arabia," said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Ankara airport before moving to Paris for commemorations on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. "We gave it to America, to the Germans, French, English, we gave it to everyone."
It was the first time that Erdogan publicly acknowledged the existence of an audio recording of which Turkish officials say that it is the claim that Khashoggi, an employee of The Washington Post World Opinions Department, was killed by a 15-strong Saudi hit team after being the consulate on October 2.
Wider access to the recording could increase the pressure on the Trump administration to take stronger measures against Saudi Arabia in response to killing Khashoggi.
Although Erdogan said that he gave the ties to those countries, it was unclear whether he meant that he had physically passed them on.
A senior German official said that the head of the federal intelligence service received a briefing and listened to the sound recording during a trip to Ankara. "The recording was very convincing," said the official.
The White House and the Elysee Palace did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The British foreign office said it "did not confirm or deny Erdogan's remarks".
US officials have said that CIA director Gina Haspel listened to the recording during a trip to Turkey last month.
Two Turkish officials, who on condition of anonymity spoke because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that the audio makes clear that Khashoggi suffered a long-term death. He was choked for about seven minutes before he died, they said.
One said Erdogan had told him directly that the killers needed 7.5 minutes to choke Khashoggi. The other said that he had been caught by someone who had listened to the recording. Neither said that they had heard the band themselves.
Turkey has not said how it has been taken from the consulate. Interception of foreign missions is in violation of the Vienna Convention. Turkish newspapers had told stories about how the recording was made by Khashoggi & # 39; s Apple Watch, a scenario that was skeptically received by experts.
Saudi Arabia now recognizes that Khashoggi was deliberately killed in the building and says it has arrested 18 people. It also fired two senior officials near Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Crown Prince has not been directly linked by Turkey, but Erdogan has said that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" in Saudi Arabia and that he does not consider King Salman responsible.
Erdogan said he would meet President Trump during his visit to Paris. Two Turkish officials said they expected a meeting to take place, with discussion of US-Turkish relations, Iranian sanctions and the Khashoggi case.
While Turkey has increased the pressure on the Saudi's by leaking into the news media about the gruesome killings, Saudi Arabia is forced to shift its story. Saudi officials had initially insisted that the journalist leave the consulate alive.
Analysts and Western diplomats say that Erdogan may use the carefully orchestrated leaks to use the Turkish interests internationally.
"Erdogan can afford that this crisis takes place in various ways, given the strength of his position," said a Western diplomat who refused to be mentioned, referring to the protocol. "He has a media infrastructure that works for him, and power is virtually centralized."
Turkish officials repeatedly complained about a lack of Saudi cooperation in the investigation, and said that the chief prosecutor of Saudi Arabia, who visited Istanbul last month, did not share information.
The Turkish official who said he had been informed of the tape said that the prosecutor had been more interested in finding evidence that Turkey already had than in providing information. He also asked for the cell phones of the deceased journalist, the official said.
Erdogan said that the Saudi prosecutor was obstructive during his visit. "And then they invite our chief prosecutor out there," he said. "The scene of the crime is here."
"The murder or killings certainly fall within this 15," he said, referring to 15 members of an alleged hit team identified by the Turkish authorities. "The Saudi Arab government will succeed in revealing this by making these 15 people talk."
At an International Peace Institute event in New York on Friday evening, Prince Turki rejected al-Faisal, former head of Saudi Arabia intelligence and ambassador to Washington and London, for international investigation into the murder. "The kingdom is proud of its legal system," he said. "It will never accept foreign interference in that system."
He said that he expects Saudi Arabia to "lay all the facts on the table".
"The kingdom wants to show the rest of the world what exactly happened and go on from there," he said. He said he hoped that this would mean an improvement in the behavior of the Saudi security forces and also in the image of the kingdom, "that has been affected by this tragic and extremely painful incident in all of our lives."
Turkish officials say, however, that they do not trust Saudi Arabia to try the suspects or hold them responsible for the person responsible for giving the order. They say that Saudi Arabia rejected Turkish requests for extradition of the suspects to be tried in Turkey.
"They do not tell the whole truth," said another Turkish official. "There is an important person behind and they have to explain."
Mekhennet reported from New York. Zeynep Karatas in Istanbul, and James McAuley and Seung Min Kim in Paris, contributed to this report.