Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée: ‘I will follow Jamal’s path’

Video and editing by Jehan Alfarra, interview by Amelia Smith

Over the last 30 days the world has come to know Jamal Khashoggi as the journalist who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. MEMO speaks to his fiancée about the man she knew and loved.

Turkish researcher Hatice Cengiz first met Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a conference in Istanbul. Four months later they were engaged.

"It was so beautiful… when I first met him he was mature, thoughtful, very compassionate and emotional.

Jamal had given years and years of his life to being a Middle East journalist. I am a young researcher who is also interested in the Middle East so when we came together we had many shared goals, dreams and values."

On 2 October they entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for Jamal’s divorce papers.

"We didn’t have any fears before we entered the consulate building on 2 October. When we first went on 28 September Jamal was worried that something could happen but everything went OK and the atmosphere was comfortable. That’s why on 2 October we were talking generally about our house and preparations for our marriage."

But Jamal never left the embassy. Turkish officials have shared audio recordings that prove he was tortured and killed.

"People do not want to understand what you feel, the pain you have experienced, the tragedy you lived which is now worldwide news. The first 20-25 days I tried to understand what happened while being away from cameras and from journalists. I think it’s time to put the emotions away and talk to people about Jamal in order to understand what happened. For Jamal, we will all start to work for his case."

Jamal was a respected journalist and columnist for the Washington Post.

"If Jamal were alive today I believe he wouldn’t have imagined such a big reaction to his murder. He wouldn’t have anticipated that these events would have such an impact. Nobody imagined. If Jamal were here today he would see how important it was to fight for what he believed in. His struggle and principles were not in vain. When he was alone he used to ask himself whether he was doing the right thing. Now he would know that he did the right thing. In fact, the current worldwide reaction and the international solidarity are exactly what he would have loved to see and hear. At last, he would realise how valuable his cause was for humanity. He would be very happy."

Although journalists across the world have called for justice, Cengiz has said the response of world leaders is disappointing.

"European governments and US President Donald Trump should have taken more serious measures and should have supported Turkey’s position in the case. We have a premeditated crime in a consulate in a foreign country. Trump isn’t yet solving the issue, but that doesn’t mean he will not in the future. European countries and Trump should start a real investigation as soon as possible.

From now on I will remember Jamal as a teacher to follow, as a friend. Yes, it may be an incomplete marriage, but for me, he is the person I was happy with and happy to live with, even if we lived for a short period of time. I will keep learning, thinking. I will always wonder: what if Jamal was living, what would he do; what would he like me to do; what would he advise me. Jamal is and will always be my idol. I will keep following his advice and principles and I will follow his path."

Written by Amelia Smith

Published in Middle East Monitor