An audio recording tracking the dying moments of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has been shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany in addition to the United States, the leader of Turkey said.

"We gave it to Saudi Arabia," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the Ankara airport before departing for Paris for commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. "We gave it to America. To the Germans, French, English, we gave it to all of them."

It was the first time that Erdogan has publicly acknowledged the existence of an audio recording that Turkish officials say backs the assertion that Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, was killed by a 15-member Saudi hit team after he entered the consulate on October 2.

Wider access to the recording could increase pressure on the Trump Administration to take stronger measures against Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi's killing.


Although Erdogan said he "gave" the tapes to those countries, it was unclear whether he meant that he had physically passed them on.

A senior German official said that the head of the Federal Intelligence Service received a briefing and listened to the audio recording during a trip to Ankara. "The recording was very convincing," the official said.

The White House and Elysee Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The British foreign office said it was "not confirming or denying" Erdogan's comments.

US officials have said that CIA Director Gina Haspel listened to the recording during a trip to Turkey last month.

Two Turkish officials said the audio makes it clear that Khashoggi suffered a drawn-out death. He is choked for about seven minutes before he dies, they said.

One said he had been told directly by Erdogan that the killers took 7.5 minutes to choke Khashoggi. The other said he had been briefed by someone who had listened to the recording. Neither said they had heard the tape themselves.

Turkey has not said how it obtained a recording from inside the consulate. Wiretapping of foreign missions breaches the Vienna Convention.

Turkish newspapers had run stories on how the recording was made by Khashoggi's Apple watch, a scenario that was met with scepticism by experts.

Saudi Arabia now acknowledges that Khashoggi was intentionally killed in the building and says it has arrested 18 people. It also has fired two senior officials close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The crown prince has not been directly implicated by Turkey, but Erdogan has said that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" in Saudi Arabia and that he doesn't think King Salman is responsible.

Erdogan said that he may meet President Donald Trump during his Paris visit. Two Turkish officials said they expected a meeting to take place, with discussion to include US-Turkish relations, Iranian sanctions and the Khashoggi case.

As Turkey has increased pressure on the Saudis through leaks to the news media on the gruesome killing, Saudi Arabia has been forced to shift its story. Saudi officials had initially insisted that the journalist left the consulate alive.

Analysts and Western diplomats say that Erdogan may be using the carefully orchestrated leaks to leverage Turkish interests internationally.

"Erdogan can afford for this crisis to play out in a number of different ways, given the strength of his position," said one Western diplomat who declined to be named, citing protocol. "He has a media infrastructure that works for him, and power is pretty much centralised."