The NGO Amnesty International denounced this Friday Turkey’s intention to transfer the case of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist murdered in Turkey, to Saudi Arabia.
“Today is a dark day for those who have been campaigning for more than three years for justice for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. When transferring the case (…), Turkey will knowingly and willingly send it into the hands of those responsibleAgnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty, reacted in a statement.
The Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, announced on Friday that he would rule favorably on the transfer of the case to Saudi Arabia, requested the day before by the Istanbul prosecutor, who said he wanted to “close” the case.
According to the private news agency DHA, the prosecutor had argued that “the case is prolonged because the court orders cannot be executed, since the defendants are foreign citizens.”
“Saudi Arabia has repeatedly refused to cooperate with the Turkish prosecutor and it is clear that a Saudi court cannot deliver justice,” Amnesty said.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, is poisoning relations between the two regional powers.
But plagued by an economic crisis and inflation at its highest point in the last 20 years (almost 55% in the last 12 months), Turkey has been seeking a rapprochement with Riyadh for several months.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in early January an imminent visit to Saudi Arabia, which has not yet taken place.
In a televised interview, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu acknowledged on Thursday that “important steps are being taken towards the normalization of relations (with Saudi Arabia).”
“Judicial cooperation has reached a better level,” he added.
In an interview given to AFP at the end of February, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, urged Turkey to “insist on justice” and not give in in favor of rapprochement with Riyadh.
The trial of 26 Saudi citizens accused by Turkey of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi began in July 2020, in their absence. The next hearing is scheduled for April 7.
The 59-year-old Saudi journalist, critical of the Saudi royal family regime and collaborator with the American newspaper Washington Post, was murdered and his body dismembered on October 2, 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain a document, according to Turkey. His remains were never found.