Turkey: Judge relocated after opposing Khashoggi case’s transfer to Saudi Arabia
The Judges and Prosecutors Board announced the relocation of 5,426 judges in its summer decree, including the transfer of Chief Judge Nimet Demir from Istanbul's 12th High Criminal Court to the city of Kahramanmaras.
In April, Demir had opposed the transfer of Khashoggi’s murder court case to Saudi Arabia, which involved 26 suspects linked to the assassination of the Saudi journalist.
The 59-year-old Middle East Eye and Washington Post columnist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 in a gruesome murder that shocked the world.
Outvoted by two other judges in court, the transfer was approved in April despite Demir’s objection.
Demir told the Turkish newspaper Sozcu on Monday that she believes she was relocated from Istanbul due to her vote during the proceedings.
“I didn’t ask for a relocation nor I was informed beforehand that I was going to be placed somewhere else,” she said.
“I was trying to uphold democracy, human rights and freedoms. This is something that would cause special attention under autocratic systems. And I’m a victim.”
Demir also said she would petition the justice ministry for her retirement since she no longer wishes to partake in the judicial system.
The case transfer in April opened the way for a rapprochement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the kingdom soon after the court decision and met the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, who the CIA believes to have given the order to kill Khashoggi.
The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince.
Ankara-Riyadh relations worsened significantly after the killing, but Turkey has since sought to mend ties with Saudi Arabia as part of a new regional policy to bolster its economy.
Mohammed Bin Salman is set to visit Turkey on Wednesday, his first visit since the Khashoggi murder, as part of a regional tour that will include stops in Egypt and Jordan.
The meeting will possibly ease a three-and-a-half-year-long Saudi embargo against Turkish exports and include the signing of investment deals.