A Sri Lankan journalist holds a placard during a protest against the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, yesterday. Reuters
CIA director Gina Haspel heard an audio recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during her visit to Turkey this week, two sources said yesterday, the first indication that Ankara has shared its key evidence.

The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a 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 death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.

Yesterday, 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.

Turkey has dismissed Saudi efforts to blame rogue operatives and urged the kingdom to search from “top to bottom” for those responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.

Representatives of the CIA declined to comment on 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 Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters yesterday.

He said Turkey had no intention of taking the case to an international court but would share information if an international inquiry were launched.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan 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.

The killing overshadowed a major business conference in Riyadh this week but Prince Mohammed, striking a defiant tone, told international investors that the furore would not derail the kingdom’s reform drive.

“We will prove to the world the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are co-operating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail,” he said to applause.

The crisis has strained Riyadh’s critical relations with the West and led dozens of Western officials, world bankers and company executives to shun the three-day conference.

EU lawmakers are calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia as well as a ban on equipment that could be used in any government crackdown. Reuters AP