CIA director Gina Haspel heard an audio recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during her visit to Turkey this week, Reuters reported, citing two sources, the first indication Ankara has shared its key evidence.
The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has sparked global condemnation and mushroomed into a major crisis for the world’s top oil exporter.
Saudi Arabia first denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance before blaming his Oct. 2 death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.
On Thursday Saudi state Ekhbariya TV quoted the Saudi public prosecutor as saying Khashoggi’s murder was premeditated and that prosecutors were interrogating suspects on the basis of information provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish task force.
Haspel, who arrived in Turkey on Monday, listened to an audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing during her visit, according to the sources, speaking on condition they were not further identified.
Representatives of the CIA declined to comment on Haspel’s review of the recording.
“We have shared with those who sought additional information some of the information and findings that the prosecutor has allowed us to share and that is legal to share,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters on Thursday.
He said Turkey had no intention of taking the case to an international court but would share information if an international inquiry were launched.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called Khashoggi’s murder a “savage killing” and demanded Riyadh punish those responsible, no matter how highly placed.
Prince Mohammed promised on Wednesday that the killers would be brought to justice in his first public comments on the matter.