Turkish authorities say they have explicit audio recordings as well as video footage showing that Saudi agents killed the dissident Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, according to two people the Turks have briefed on their findings.
Such material, if made public, could transform the unfolding standoff between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, a legal resident of the United States and a Washington Post columnist well known among Western journalists and diplomats.
A former chief of a semiofficial Turkish news agency who is still close to the government, Kemal Ozturk, spoke publicly about a video earlier this week.
The Post, citing United States and Turkish government officials, reported late Thursday night that the Turks have briefed their counterparts in the American government about those materials.
Mr. Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi Consulate about 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, when Turkish security cameras recorded his entrance. His fiancée, who was waiting outside, said he never emerged.
Officials of Saudi Arabia, including its dominant leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, say they have no knowledge of Mr. Khashoggi’s whereabouts. Without producing evidence, they say he left the consulate shortly after he arrived.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has pointedly demanded an explanation from the Saudis.
But other Turkish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the unfolding investigation, have describing a gory killing in graphic detail that appears to come from recordings obtained through surveillance or intercepted communications.
Those Turkish officials have said that 15 Saudi agents arrived in Istanbul that day on a mission to assassinate Mr. Khashoggi, that they killed him within two hours and then dismembered his body in order to remove it. The Turks say the Saudis brought a bone saw and a doctor of forensic medicine to dismember the body.
One of the people briefed about the audio and video material described them to The New York Times last Saturday, and a second person with knowledge of the material described them late Thursday night.
President Trump, other American officials and lawmakers of both parties have viewed the Turkish allegations with a growing degree of credibility in recent days.
(New York Times)