Khashoggi case’s move to Saudi Arabia ‘completely legal’: Minister

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Turkey’s decision to halt and transfer the case over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia is in complete accordance with the law, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Monday.

“There has not been the slightest progress in the trial since 2018 because there are 26 suspects. In order for these suspects to be tried, they need to be brought in front of Turkish courts and since these are Saudi Arabian citizens they could not be brought to court until this day,” Bozdağ said, speaking at A Haber TV.

Indicating that the process of the trial in Turkey will be determined according to Saudi Arabia’s decision, Bozdağ said, “Turkey transferring its juridical power is not the case.”

He underlined that the transfer of the case is in line with the law and elaborated: “Article 24 of Law No. 6706 states that ‘If the suspect or the accused cannot be brought before the court due to being a citizen of a foreign state or his defense cannot be obtained through legal aid in crimes that necessitate more than one year of prison during the investigation and prosecution, then it may be decided to transfer the investigation or prosecution.'”

The move, requested by a state prosecutor and approved by Turkey’s Justice Ministry, came as Ankara seeks to improve ties with Riyadh.

Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, disappeared on Oct. 2, 2018, after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, seeking documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee. He never emerged from the consulate.

Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul four years ago strained relations between the two countries, with President Tayyip Erdoğan saying at the time it had been ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Riyadh requested last month that the case be transferred to the kingdom, according to the Turkish state prosecutor who asked for the request to be accepted because statements could not be taken from the 26 Saudi defendants being tried in absentia.

The Justice Ministry approved the request and the court ruled last week to halt the case and transfer it to Saudi authorities.

Last week, a Turkish official ruled out that the decision was political, saying the Justice Ministry’s approval was “only a technical matter.”

Strains over Khashoggi’s killing led to an unofficial Saudi boycott of Turkish goods, which cut Ankara’s exports to the kingdom by 90%.


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