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Wife of motor courier files complaint in fatal crash involving Somali President’s son

Thursday December 14, 2023

Öznur Göçer, the wife of Yunus Emre Göçer

Istanbul (HOL) - Öznur Göçer, the wife of Yunus Emre Göçer, a motor courier killed in a car crash involving the Somali President's son in Turkey, has filed a criminal complaint against the police and prosecutor who deemed her husband negligent in the accident.

Mohamed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a 40-year-old doctor, was driving the vehicle that struck Göçer on a busy Istanbul highway. The incident, which occurred on November 30 in Istanbul's Fatih district, initially led to Mohamud's brief detention. However, after providing a statement, he was released and subsequently left Turkey before a travel ban was enforced.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in an interview with The Associated Press, countered claims that his son fled the scene. He stated that his son remained in Istanbul for several days after the crash, hired a lawyer, and has been advised to return to court. The president emphasized that his son did not flee the accident and extended condolences to Göçer's family, expressing sorrow for their loss.

“He still is linked to the country, and I am talking to him to go back and presenting himself to the court,” the president said. The decision is his — but I am giving that advice,” he added.

Göçer sustained severe injuries from the collision and succumbed to these injuries six days later at İstanbul Teaching and Research Hospital. A subsequent expert report challenged the initial police findings, determining Mohamud primarily at fault for failing to maintain a safe following distance.

In response to the incident and its handling, the Nakliyat-İş union organized a protest outside the Somali Honorary Consulate in Istanbul. Ali Rıza Küçükosmanoğlu, Chairman of Nakliyat-İş, called for justice and criticized the judiciary's handling of the case. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu also highlighted the incident, accusing the government of failing to defend its citizens' rights.

Turkey's Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced that "international procedures" had been initiated concerning the crash and emphasized that everyone is equal before the law. An investigation was also launched into the police officers who conducted the initial investigation and allegedly allowed Mohamud to go free.

The president's son's car, as reported by a Somali diplomat in Turkey, is owned by the Somali Embassy, and the president's family, who previously lived in Turkey, travels with diplomatic passports. Turkey's relationship with Somalia, strengthened since 2011 through humanitarian aid, infrastructure development, and military cooperation, adds a layer of diplomatic complexity to the incident.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in his U.N. headquarters interview, reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring his son respects Turkish law and judicial processes. He expressed high regard for Turkey, stating, "We respect the laws and the judicial system. As a president of Somalia, I will never allow anybody to violate this country's judicial system."


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