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Somalia: President vows son will answer for fatal highway crash in Istanbul

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2023.   -  
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**Somalia’s president says his son didn’t flee Turkey after he was involved in a fatal highway crash in Istanbul.**He has advised his son to go back and present himself to court, which has issued an arrest warrant.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in an interview with The Associated Press that his 40-year-old son, who is a doctor, stayed at the scene of the crash and remained in Istanbul for several days afterward.

“It was an accident. He did not run away, and he hired a lawyer for this purpose,” the president said.

“And there was no arrest warrant. … So, he has a business and he came out of the country."

The victim, Yunus Emre Gocer, a 38-year-old motorcycle courier, died in a hospital Dec. 6, six days after he was hit by a car driven by the president’s son, Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on a busy highway in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities ordered president's son arrested and barred him from traveling abroad following the motorcyclist’s death, but reports said the younger Mohamud had already left Turkey by the time the warrant was issued.

“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.

But his son is an adult and “the decision is his — but I am giving that advice,” he said.

The president extended his sympathy to Gocer's family.

“I want to take this opportunity to send my condolences to the family, which I don’t know how to contact," he said.

"We share with them the grief of their loss. We are sorry for their loss.”

Dozens of people staged a demonstration in Istanbul on Sunday demanding that the son face trial for Gocer’s death.

Responding to the pressure, Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc tweeted Sunday that, “Regardless of their title, everyone is equal before the law and the entire process for the capture of the suspect — including the international procedure — is being carried out meticulously.”

Turkey has built close ties with Somalia since 2011, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister, visited the East African nation in a show of support as Somalis suffered from severe drought.

“I will do everything that I can to make sure that my son respects Turkish law and justice law, and stands in front of the courts in Turkey," Somalia's president said.

“Turkey is a brotherly country,” he said.

“We respect the laws and the justice 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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