Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul. (File)
A Turkish prosecutor asked an Istanbul court to dismiss a case into the gruesome murder of Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi and transfer it to Saudi Arabia, local media reported on Thursday.
The development comes as Turkey is seeking a thaw in relations with Saudi Arabia, which worsened after the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The prosecutor said during the hearing in Istanbul on Thursday that the case "has been dragging because the court orders cannot be executed on the grounds that the suspects are foreign nationals", the private DHA news agency reported.
The court is expected to approve the justice ministry's request to transfer the case to Saudi Arabia, the news agency said.
On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to file paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee. According to US and Turkish officials, a waiting Saudi hit squad strangled him and dismembered his body, which has never been retrieved.
The murder sparked international outrage that continues to reverberate, with Western intelligence agencies accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of authorising the killing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the time that the order to kill "came from the highest levels" of the Saudi government.
Unsatisfied with the trial in Saudi Arabia, Turkey has launched its own investigation into the murder and put 26 Saudis on trial in absentia including two who are close to the crown prince.
Erdogan said in January he was planning a visit to Riyadh -- which would come at a critical moment for Turkey, where inflation is surging to over 50 percent.
The next hearing is scheduled for April 7.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)