Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that his country’s intelligence has heard an audio recording of the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Hashoghi.
He said: “Canada was fully informed of what Turkey had to share.”
Prime Minister Trudeau is the first Western leader to confirm that his country has listened to the alleged tape of the assassination at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
On November 10th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had given copies to the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.
“We gave them the tapes,” he told reporters before flying to Paris to gather world leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“They also listened to the conversations, they know it.”
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However, the United States has not said whether it has received the tape, and the French foreign minister has said he does not have one, as far as he knows.
Saudi Arabia has acknowledged a team of agents killed Jamal Hashoghi, a prominent critic who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States and writes about Washington Postand arrested 18 people allegedly involved.
At a news conference in Paris on November 12, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian intelligence agencies had worked closely with Turkey to investigate the murder.
He added: “I had a conversation with Erdogan a few weeks ago on the phone. Here in Paris we had short exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in reacting to the situation with Kashoggi. ”
Asked if Canada had heard the alleged audio recordings, Prime Minister Trudeau said yes. But he added that he did not listen to them in person.
According to recent reports, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s spy service, is traveling to Turkey to discuss the investigation and listen to the recording.
The director then briefed Prime Minister Trudeau and other Canadian officials on his visit to Turkey.
Justin Trudeau has sidestepped whether such evidence would have implications for Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia.
“We are discussing with our supporters on the next steps with regard to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Justin Trudeau is facing calls to cancel a $ 13 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for tanks and armored combat vehicles built by an Ontario-based division of the US firm General Dynamics.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada are already strained. In August, Saudi Arabia accused Canada of violating its sovereignty and froze new trade after Canadian authorities called for the release of detained civil society and women’s rights activists.
On November 12, Turkey reacted angrily after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian contradicted President Erdogan’s claim that France had received an audio recording from the consulate and accused the Turkish leader of “political games”.
Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 2 TV: “The truth is still unknown. We want to know the truth, the circumstances of his death and the identity of the perpetrators. Then we will take the necessary action.
“If the Turkish president has information to give us, he must give it to us. I don’t know about that yet. “
Asked if that meant President Erdogan was lying, the foreign minister said: “That means he has to play a political game in these circumstances.”
The Turkish presidency’s communications director called the comments “unacceptable” and insisted a French intelligence official had listened to the tape on October 24th.
Faretin Alton told AFP: “If there is different communication between the different agencies of the French government, the French authorities, not Turkey, must take care of this problem.”