Turkey drops charges against 26 Saudis over Khashoggi murder

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

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week in Turkey [Getty]

A Turkish court has dropped charges against 26 Saudis who were involved in the horrific murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish media reported on Friday.

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

The judgment was not publicly announced until two days after Muhammad bin Salman’s visit, according to Duvar English.

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

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

In 2018, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was allegedly killed and dismembered by a Saudi commando.

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

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

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

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