The Ministry of Justice of Turkey announced, on October 26 that Turkey will officially demand the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects in the killing of Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi. According to an official statement by the ministry, Istanbul prosecutors have prepared a requisition for the suspects on charges of planned and deliberate murder with monstrosity and torture.
“Turkish authorities are both determined and competent to shed light on this case,” Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul told reporters, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Gul added that he expects that the extradition will be carried out because the murder occurred in Turkey. However, Saudi Arabia will not likely comply with the Turkish demand, especially that the crime occurred inside its consulate, which is considered a part of Saudi Arabia territory.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on this issue during a meeting with the provincial heads of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, and called on Saudi Arabia to hand over the suspects.
“Whatever happened, it comes down to these 18 persons. If you are determined, if you want to remove the suspicion and clear the air, these 18 persons are the bottom line to this … The incident took place in Istanbul. So, hand them to us, and let us judge them,” CNN quoted Erdogan as saying.
The Turkish president also warned that the Turkish authorities do have other documents on the crime that may be disclosed soon and argued Saudi Arabia to reveal where Khashoggi’s body is hidden.
“It is obvious that (Khashoggi) is killed. But where? Where is the body?” Erdogan said.
Saudi Arabia had claimed that Khashoggi was murdered during what was described as a “quarrel and a brawl” with personnel he met in the consulate in Istanbul. However, the Kingdom changed its narrative later and said that the suspects in the murder had committed their act with a “premeditated intention.”
This shift in the official Saudi narrative hints that Ankara and Riyadh may have reached an agreement to cover up the crime in some way.