The New York Times quotes senior Turkish officials who allegedly passed on gruesome details from the recordings.

Turkish police forensic experts and Saudi officials are seen at the backyard of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 18, 2018.
Turkish police forensic experts and Saudi officials are seen at the backyard of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, October 18, 2018. (Reuters)

The New York Times reports that audio recordings reveal how journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and beheaded after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The New York Times quotes senior Turkish officials who allegedly passed on gruesome details from the recordings.

Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak has also given details from the recordings saying Khashoggi was dismembered in just a few minutes.

It said a top Saudi doctor of forensics had been brought along for the dissection and disposal of the body.

There are no details yet on where his body might be.

The New York Times reports that US intelligence officials say they have growing circumstantial evidence that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

The information came as Turkish crime scene investigators combed through both the consulate and consul-general's residence for a second time.

The search began on Wednesday and ended early Thursday morning.

The latest information and searches put even further pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi after a visit by US Secretary Mike Pompeo to both the kingdom and Turkey. 

TRT World's Ali Alioglu is outside the consulate building.

Flying back home, Pompeo remained positive about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, but stressed answers need to come soon.

"Sooner's betters than later for everyone," Pompeo said.

Yeni Safak reported that Saudi Consul General Mohammed al Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi, "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble."

The newspaper said one of the Saudis torturing Khashoggi replied, "Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia."

Saudi officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press in recent days. 

Otaibi left Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, Turkish state media reported.

TRT World's Jon Brain reports from Washington.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the US has requested audio and video evidence concerning Khashoggi's disappearance "if it exists." 

"We have asked for it. If it exists we have asked for it," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.    

Trump continued to stand by Saudi Arabia but said he is "not giving cover at all" to Riyadh, whom he repeatedly called a close US ally. 

Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in the day held separate meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, each for about 40 minutes in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

The three posed for photos, but said nothing together in front of reporters.

On a plane back home, Pompeo said Erdogan "made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information."

"If a country engages in activity that is unlawful it's unacceptable," Pompeo said. "No one is going to defend activity of that nature. We just need to simply say what happened."

Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman and his son, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday. Before leaving Riyadh, Pompeo told reporters that the Saudi leaders "made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable."

"They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official," Pompeo said.

No major decisions are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom's ruling Saud family. 

Khashoggi had left the country last year amid the rise of Prince Mohammed, whom he wrote critically about in the Post.

On Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police found "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Trump's previous warnings over the case drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. 

The US president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.

Prominent US newspapers have reported, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi officials may soon acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate but blame it on a botched intelligence operation. That could, like Trump's softening comments, seek to give the kingdom a way out of the global firestorm of criticism over Khashoggi's fate.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies