Turkey drops charges against 26 Saudis for Khashoggi murder amid MbS-Erdogan meeting

Turkey closed the trial of 26 Saudis accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi just days before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, local media reported on Friday.

Jun 26, 2022

A Turkish court dropped charges against 26 Saudis who had been implicated in the gruesome killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish media reported on Friday.

The Istanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court’s decision came days before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Turkey, who, according to US intelligence, was responsible for ordering Khashoggi’s murder.

The judgement was only announced publicly two days after Muhammad bin Salman’s visit, according to Duvar English.

The lawyer for Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, said they would appeal the decision.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist living in the United States who frequently criticised the kingdom’s government.

In 2018, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was reportedly killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad.

Ties between Riyadh and Ankara were strained following his murder, for which Erdogan blamed Saudi Arabia’s government.

But earlier this year, Turkey stopped all criticism of the kingdom. It suspended the murder trial against the 26 Saudis in April and transferred the case to Riyadh, in a move that was condemned by rights groups.

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Bin Salman’s recent visit appears to have further strengthened ties between the two states.

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