A day after President Tayyip Erdogan dropped the latest bombshell related to the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi, saying Turkey had handed over an audio recording of the journalist’s brutal slaying inside the Istanbul consulate to the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Germany, France and Britain, the contents of Khashoggi’s last words have emerged.
Editor for the the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, Nazif Karaman, shared some details from the audio tape with Al Jazeera. Karaman said Khashoggi’s last words were:
“I’m suffocating… Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic” – according what he confirmed is the authentic audio recording from inside the Istanbul consulate.
Meanwhile at the conclusion of the centennial anniversary of WWI ceremony in Paris President Erdogan’s office confirmed he and President Trump discussed the Jamal Khashoggi killing on the sidelines of the weekend events.
The prominent Turkish journalist for the popular pro-government Daily Sabah described further that the tape confirms that Khashoggi suffocated to death while a plastic bag was over his head in a killing that lasted for about seven minutes.
During the Al-Jazeera interview Karaman also said the group of 15 hitmen responsible for carrying out the murder, and who were reported to have arrived in Istanbul the day before the October 2 killing, spent 15 minutes dismembering Khashoggi’s body.
And notably, Karaman said his newspaper plans to publish segments of the audio death tape. According to the Al-Jazeera report:
Karaman said that Daily Sabah would soon publish images of the tools that were brought into the country and used by the Saudi group.
He added the Turkish newspaper would also publish some of the recordings that document the last moments of Khashoggi’s life.
If this happens it will likely renew the flood of anti-MbS press coverage that occurred in the weeks after the murder was revealed.
It will also raise serious questions for Washington and European officials who have apparently heard the recording but did not divulge or confirm that they had direct knowledge of such absolute certain proof that this was an official Saudi hit ordered at the highest levels.
At a dinner in Paris that was closed to press, after Turkey said it passed an audio tape of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing to the United States, President Trump sat next to Turkish President Erdogan. The White House confirms to me that they discussed Khashoggi: https://t.co/mxPNsncA3T
In a televised speech, Erdogan on Saturday confirmed Turkey handed over recordings to Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain. According to Reuters Erdogan stated confidently:
We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, Germans, French and British, all of them. They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know.
But as we asked before, the pressing question that remains is how long have American authorities known of the contents of the Khashoggi murder tape? When did officials listen to it and why have they kept silent about it even as news of the death and investigation drove headlines?
It appears the White House may have only come into possession of the recording as early as only a matter of days ago, not long before Erdogan and Trump met face to face in Paris and discussed the issue.
The men were pictured at a dinner in Paris seated next to one another in photos released by the Turkish government, revealing a lengthy conversation took place on Saturday evening…
“I can confirm they sat next to one another and they discussed the ongoing tragic situation with Khashoggi,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told DailyMail.com.
It will be interesting to see if President Trump himself addresses the audio recording in statements this week – something he may be forced to do if the audio is indeed leaked or published by Turkish press, as the Daily Sabah is now vowing to do.