Khashoggi’s fiancée speaks on first live interview
“He had applied for U.S. citizenship but it was not approved yet. He was a Saudi citizen. He was in great loneliness. Perhaps it was this loneliness that moved him to the emotional relationship we had soon after we met,” Cengiz said while answering questions on Turkish broadcaster Habertürk on Oct. 25.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a U.S. resident, disappeared on Oct. 2 after a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to receive his marital documents. His fiancée Cengiz was the first person to alarm the public after the incident.
After a weeks-long denial, Saudi Arabia admitted on Oct. 25 that the journalist fell victim to a premeditated killing in the building, although the whereabouts of his body remained unclear.
During the earlier days of the investigation, Saudi media outlets had quoted Khashoggi’s son from his former marriage as saying that the family in Riyadh did not know the presence of the Turkish fiancée.
Marriage ended due to ‘political reasons’
“I don’t have much information about his family in Saudi Arabia. He had told me that his former marriage ended because of political reasons. He was lonely and sad. He was complaining that he does not know what happened to his friends in Saudi Arabia,” Cengiz said.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was implicated in Khashoggi’s killing, was also criticized for jailing hundreds of critics.
Khashoggi’s eldest son Salah was given permission to leave Saudi Arabia following a months-long travel ban after he met Prince Mohammed during a condolence visit in Riyadh on Oct. 24.
“I don’t know whether it is correct to describe Jamal [Khashoggi] as a Saudi dissident. There is a transformation process in his country now. He was telling me that it is now his responsibility to write [columns] because his friends [in Saudi jails] are not allowed to write,” she added.
Fiancée makes clarifications on two issues
Cengiz also clarified two issues about Khashoggi’s final appointment in the consulate that were widely reported in what she described as erroneous.
It was earlier reported that Khashoggi had previously applied to get the documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC but he was sent by them to Istanbul. “I have no knowledge about such a demand. People talk about it but [Khashoggi] would tell me if it had happened,” Cengiz said.
It was also widely reported that Khashoggi had told Cengiz to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advisor Yasin Aktay if he could not leave the consulate after a long while on Oct. 2.
Cengiz explained that Khashoggi had told her to call Aktay when he felt bad and the couple went to a hospital in a previous visit to Turkey.
“When he entered the consulate on Oct. 2, he did not tell me this because he was very relaxed as the consulate staff had treated him very well four days before. After he did not leave the building for hours, I remembered his earlier advise to call Aktay in case of an emergency,” she said.