Rabat - Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, has told a television outlet in Turkey that she recently declined President Trump’s invitation to the White House.
Rabat – Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, has told a television outlet in Turkey that she recently declined President Trump’s invitation to the White House.
Speaking to Haberturk TV on Friday, days after international pressure and Turkish media leaks compelled Saudi Arabia to admit that Khashoggi died at the hands of Saudi operatives, the teary Cengiz said that she doubted the sincerity of President Trump’s invitation.
President Trump was sluggish to speak out in the Khashoggi case, Cengiz suggested.
Days after the journalist’s disappearance on October 2, many in the international community started raising concerns. While Saudi Arabia originally denied all accusations, its narrative has shifted several times in the last three weeks. President Trump, however, when he could have exerted pressure on Saudi Arabia’s leadership, seemed to believe their accounts.
According to Cengiz, Trump only wants to hone his own approval ratings by inviting her to the White House. He wants to show the US how much he cares when in fact he did not seem to care in the beginning of the Khashoggi saga, she argued.
Cengiz also told Haberturk that she believed the White House’s invitation was a late desperate PR move to influence opinion in the US. She said she did not intend to be part of insincere efforts as she grieves her late fiancé.
Tearfully recounting the day Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to never come back, Cengiz said she would not have let him go in if she had known that “Saudi Arabia would hatch a plot to kill him.”
As international pressure mounts on Riyadh to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi’s murder, Cengiz seized the opportunity to demand that her fiancé’s murderers be brought to justice.
“I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice,” she said.
The interview is not Cengiz’s first public statement. A week Khashoggi’s disappearance, as Saudi Arabia strenuously denied that the journalist had been killed inside the consulate, Cengiz wrote a passionate op-ed in the Washington Post. She pleaded with Trump and Saudi Arabia to shed light in her fiancé’s case.
“More than a week has passed since our last meeting outside the consulate of Saudi Arabia, before his disappearance became global news…. At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance. I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate.”
Cengiz’s plea for Saudi Arabia to release evidence was not attended to, but the kingdom has been forced to admit that Khashoggi’s murder was planned.