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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Jamal Khashoggi Death


On Oct. 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known journalist who was born in Saudi Arabia, but became a citizen of the United States as of September 2017, entered the Istanbul consulate and has not been seen since. 

Khashoggi first entered the consulate Sept. 28 to receive a document certifying his divorce from his previous wife. He needed this document in order to marry his Turkish fiancé, Hatice Cengiz. After the meeting, he was told to return Oct. 2.

Khashoggi was seen on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), arriving at the consulate at 1:14pm for his appointment scheduled for 1:30pm.

Turkish officials believe he was murdered by a group of Saudi agents inside the consulate. The agents stated they have evidence, including audio recordings to prove this. The motive behind this murder is said to be due to Khashoggi’s articles that exposed, and criticized the government in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian officials initially denied the accusations surrounding the murder, claiming that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive.

On Oct. 20, the Saudi Arabian government came forward and announced that Khashoggi was killed after a fight had broken out while he was inside. During the fight he was strangled to death.

Prince Mohammed’s brother, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khaled bin Salman announced that Khashoggi was murdered in a “rogue operation” and vowed to punish “those responsible.”  This statement is contradictory to the Oct. 25 statement, when Saudi Arabia’s attorney general admitted that the murder was premeditated.

Khashoggi’s fiancé, Cengiz later wrote in the Washington Post, “He did not mind walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul because he did not believe that something bad could happen on Turkish soil.”  Cengiz waited outside the consulate for more than 10 hours and returned the following day when her fiancé had yet to reappear.

Before his death, Khashoggi covered many stories for an array of newspapers. Stories included the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Osama bin Laden. Each month, Khashoggi also wrote a column in the Washington Post criticizing the policies of bin Salman.

After publishing his first article, Khashoggi expressed fear of being arrested due to his words against bin Salman. Khashoggi once was close to the Saudi royal family and served as an advisor to the government.

In times of turmoil, the nation looks to the President to guide and defend them. President Donald Trump has remained relatively silent on the matter. However, on Oct. 16 he released a statement that enraged many citizens, as well as Cengiz.

Trump stated, “I think we have to find out what happened first. Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.” Trump also warned the United States that it would be detrimental to the nation to seize the deals with Saudi Arabia.

Trump made an effort to invite Cengiz to visit the White House as well.

During an interview with the pro-government Turkish channel Harber Turk, Cengiz said, “The statements Trump made in the first days around his invite [to the White house] and the statements he made afterward opposed each other. They were simply statements to gain public sympathy.”

She continued to explain, “My expectation, the expectation of our President, is for everyone involved in this to give account in front of the judiciary. It’s for the investigation to be over as soon as possible. We will go through pain in this process, but at least we can go through knowing what’s happened and without ‘what ifs.” 

Cengiz rejected the invitation to the White House due to Trump’s comments in the media about her fiancé’s death.

Cengiz later stated that if Trump “makes a genuine contribution to the efforts to reveal what happened inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that day, I will consider accepting his invitation.”

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