Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: US asks Turkey for recording evidence

The US has asked Turkey for a recording said to provide strong evidence that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“We have asked for it, if it exists,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the building on 2 October. Saudi Arabia denies killing him.

Mr Trump denied he was trying “to cover” for Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has published the last column Mr Khashoggi wrote before his disappearance on the importance of a free press in the Middle East.

What is Trump’s latest position?

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest allies and the Khashoggi disappearance is putting the administration in an awkward position.

Confirming that the tape has been requested, Mr Trump added: “I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does.”

Mr Trump said he expected a report from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has just been to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The president said the truth would come out “by the end of the week”.

He rejected suggestions he was trying to provide cover for Saudi Arabia: “No, not at all, I just want to find out what’s happening.”

Over the past few days, Mr Trump has raised the possibility of “rogue killers” being behind the journalist’s disappearance. And he has cautioned against rushing to blame Saudi leaders, telling the Associated Press news agency that they were being treated as “guilty until proven innocent”.

What is reported to be on the recording?

The existence of audio evidence that Mr Khashoggi – a critic of Saudi leaders – was murdered was revealed by Turkish investigators early on in their inquiries.

Reports in Turkish media give gruesome details of what are said to be his final minutes.

A Turkish newspaper says the consul himself, Mohammed al-Otaibi, can be heard in the audio recording of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

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