ISTANBUL: Turkey has blocked state news websites of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, days after the sites of Turkish state broadcaster and news agency were blocked in Saudi Arabia.
The moves come four weeks after Turkish prosecutors indicted twenty Saudis over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Internet users in Turkey were unable to access the sites of Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and the Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, along with more than a dozen other sites. A message was displayed saying that the sites were blocked under a law governing internet publications in Turkey.
The Turkish website of the UK-based Independent newspaper, which is operated by a Saudi company, was one of the sites to be blocked. The website editor said the decision reflects political tensions between the two countries.
“We believe the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey reflected on us,” editor Nevzat Cicek an international news agency. He said the decision appeared to be “retaliation against Saudi Arabia”.
Earlier this month Saudi Arabia banned Turkish state news agency Anadolu, along with the website of state broadcaster TRT.
Saudi Arabia’s move to block the sites came after the Istanbul prosecutor’s office announced last month that it had prepared an indictment against 20 suspects over the killing of Khashoggi. The suspects include the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence and a former royal adviser.
The prosecutor’s office said the indictment accuses Ahmed al-Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani of having “instigated premeditated murder with monstrous intent”.
Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 caused a global uproar, tarnishing the image of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and soured relations between Saudia Arabia and Turkey.
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