Turkey calls for Saudi cooperation over Khashoggi murder after verdict

Turkey said Saudi Arabia should cooperate with an ongoing investigation into dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder after a Saudi court issued jail sentences for eight suspects.

"The final verdict that a Saudi court issued today regarding journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s execution inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey fell short of meeting the expectations of Turkey and the international community," Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter on Monday.

A Saudi court overturned death sentences for five suspects for their involvement in the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and Muslim Brotherhood sympathiser who was killed and allegedly dismembered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. The court’s decision on Monday was a final ruling that jailed the eight defendants for between seven and 20 years.

"It is a legal and conscientious obligation to shed light on the Jamal Khashoggi murder, which was committed within Turkey’s borders, and to deliver justice. That is the only way to ensure that similar atrocities can be prevented in the future," Altun said.

Khashoggi’s murder may have been committed with the knowledge of top officials in the Saudi government including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to authorities including the U.S. intelligence services. Disagreements between Turkey and Saudi Arabia about their respective investigations into the crime led to a diplomatic crisis.

Turkey is planning its own trial of suspects in the murder, even if they are in absentia.

In March, Turkish prosecutors indicted 20 Saudi officials – including the former deputy chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, Ahmed al-Asiri, and ex-royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani – for committing premeditated murder with “monstrous intent”. However, the suspects are being tried in absentia by a Turkish court because Riyadh has refused to extradite the men despite repeated requests by Turkey.