The prosecutor in the case against 26 Saudi nationals charged in the slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi made a surprise request Thursday that their trial in absentia be suspended and the case be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
The panel of judges made no ruling on the prosecutor's request but decided that a letter be sent to Turkey's Justice Ministry seeking its opinion on the possible transfer of the file to the Saudi judicial authorities, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Trial was adjourned to a later date.
The prosecutor's request comes as Turkey has been trying to normalize its relationship with Saudi Arabia, which reached an all-time low following Khashoggi's grisly killing.
His slaying at the consulate also sparked international condemnation and cast a cloud of suspicion over Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Khashoggi, a Saudi national who was a United States resident, had walked into his country's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, for an appointment to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancee. He never walked out.
Turkish authorities said he was killed by a team Saudi agents who had flown to Turkey to meet Khashoggi inside the consulate.
Those on trial in absentia include two former aides of the prince.
The defendants all left Turkey, and Saudi Arabia rejected Turkish demands for their extradition. Some of the men were put on trial in Riyadh behind closed doors. Khashoggi's family members later announced they had forgiven his killers.
Prior to his killing, Khashoggi had written critically of Saudi Arabia's crown prince in columns for the Washington Post.