U.S. among countries that listened to Khashoggi tapes, Turkey's Erdogan claims

President Donald Trump previously cast doubt on a leaked recording, telling reporters he was “not sure yet that it exists,” but that if it does, the U.S. had asked Turkey to share it.
Image: Mike Pompeo Recep Tayyip Erdogan
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting at Ankara Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Turkey on Oct. 17, 2018.Turkish presidential office / EPA file

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By Reuters

ISTANBUL — Turkey has given recordings on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

"We gave the tapes... They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know," Erdogan said.

NBC News has not verified his claims.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Turkish sources have said previously that authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the murder.

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However, a State Department spokesperson previously denied that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heard an audio recording or saw a transcript of the recording after he held emergency meetings in Saudi Arabia and Turkey last month. A senior Turkish official similarly denied the reports.

"Turkey has not given a voice recording to Pompeo or any other American official," Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Speaking ahead of his departure for France to attend commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, Erdogan said Saudi Arabia knows the killer of Jamal Khashoggi is among a group of 15 people who arrived in Turkey one day ahead of the Oct. 2 killing.

"There's no need to distort this issue," he said. "Saudi Arabia's government can disclose this by making these 15 people talk."

Erdogan said he may meet with President Donald Trump, who is also in Paris for the ceremonies this weekend.

"When we go to Paris, we will try to secure an opportunity and we will realize a bilateral meeting," Erdogan said.

Trump himself previously cast doubt on a leaked recording, telling reporters he was “not sure yet that it exists,” but that if it does, the U.S. had asked Turkey to share it.

But following a meeting in Paris on Saturday between Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron, a French presidency source said the pair agreed that the Saudi authorities needed to shed full light on Khashoggi's murder.

They also agreed that the matter should not be allowed to cause further destabilization in the Middle East and that it could create an opportunity to find a political resolution to the war in Yemen, according to the official.

Linda Givetash contributed.