Officials in Turkey have in their possession an Apple Watch audio recording of the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Khashoggi was reportedly wearing the Apple Watch when he entered the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul over a week ago. AP said the story was first reported Saturday by a Turkish newspaper, Sabah. This is the pro-government newspaper that Turkish security officials have been using to leak information to the public about the Khashoggi case.
The new claim published by Sabah did not, however, explain how Turkish officials also reportedly in their possession a video of Khashoggi’s alleged killing.
AP said that this new information will greatly increase the pressure on Saudi Arabia to provide an explanation about what happened to Khashoggi, who was a journalist. He had written stories that were highly critical about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi has not been since since he walked into the Saudi consulate on October 2nd. The Saudi Arabian government has claimed that the charges against it are “baseless.” Apparently, however, it was acknowledged for the first time Saturday morning that some people believe Khashoggi was killed by the Saudi Arabian government.
An Apple Watch is able to record audio and then is able to sync the audio recording with an iPhone using a Bluetooth connection.
Authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud account on the internet, AP said. The journalist gave his iPhone to his fiancée before entering the consulate but was wearing his Apple Watch.
Sabah’s account did not explain how the Apple Watch synced the recordings to both the phone and Khashoggi’s iCloud account.
The newspaper also alleged Saudi officials tried to delete the recordings first by incorrectly guessing Khashoggi’s PIN on the watch, and then later using the journalist’s finger. Apple Watches, however, cannot be unlocked with a fingerprint ID, which is possible with iPhones.
According to AP they have requested further information from Turkish officials about Khashoggi’s Apple Watch but there has been no response. Turkish officials did say that they believe a 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. They also claim that they have a video recording of Khashoggi’s slaying, but have given no explanation about how they came into possession of the video.
So far Turkey has not released to the public any of the evidence of Khashoggi’s alleged murder. They have released, however, a surveillance video from around the consulate. This video shows a several vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving the consulate approximately two hours after Khashoggi’s arrival there.
Saudi Arabia still maintains it had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance. They have given no explanation why the journalist was seen entering the consulate on foot, but was never seen leaving. His fiancée was waiting for him outside but according to the Saudis he simply disappeared into Istanbul without a trace.
A Saudi-owned satellite news channel has begun referring to the 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” team as “tourists,” without providing evidence.
On Saturday the state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud again denying his government’s involvement in the Khashoggi case. The statement did acknowledge, however, that Saudi Arabia was being accused of killing Khashoggi.
“What has been circulating about orders to kill (Khashoggi) are lies and baseless allegations against the government of the kingdom, which is committed to its principles, rules and traditions and is in compliance with international laws and conventions,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
Khashoggi’s disappearance has put pressure on President Donald Trump, who has a close relationship with the Saudis. Trump promised to personally call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman soon about “the terrible situation in Turkey.”
“We’re going to find out what happened,” Trump said Friday when asked by reporters in Cincinnati where he was holding a political rally.
On Thursday Trump said he saw no reason to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the disappearance of Khashoggi despite pressure from Congress.
On Friday several U.S. defense contractors expressed concern to the Trump administration that members of Congress angered by the Khashoggi killing will block further arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
This new information concerning the government of Turkey having recordings of Khashoggi’s alleged slaying will increase pressure on both Trump and Congress to respond in ways that may harm their long-cultivated relationship with Saudi Arabia.