Turkey's move to halt and transfer the trial of Saudi suspects over the killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, to Saudi Arabia, upon approval from Turkey's Justice Ministry, is not a political decision, a high level Turkish bureaucrat said on Friday and Reuters reports.
Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul four years ago had raised a global outcry and put pressure on Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. At the time, Ankara had been harshly critical of Saudi authorities and their handling of the investigation, but has since scaled back criticism in an effort to repair ties.
On Thursday, a Turkish court halted and transferred the case to Saudi Arabia, in a ruling that drew condemnation from rights groups.
"It was an ongoing trial and legal proceeding. It's not us, not politicians, not the government that referred this case to Saudi Arabia. The courts have done it," the bureaucrat said at a meeting with foreign journalists.
The person said the Justice Ministry's approval was "only a technical matter".