The state-run Anadolu news agency reported Sunday that the Istanbul governor’s office had arranged the security detail for Cengiz. As Reuters noted, however, a reason has not been provided as to why authorities felt it necessary to place Cengiz, a Turkish national, under police protection.
Cengiz was one of the last people to see Khashoggi alive. She’d accompanied him to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and had waited for him for hours outside the building.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, had visited the consulate with the intention of obtaining documents for his upcoming marriage to Cengiz. He never re-emerged.
“I do not know if Jamal is inside. I want to know where Jamal is. Did they detain him? Did they kidnap him? Is he imprisoned?” Cengiz, emotional and visibly exhausted, told CNN outside the consulate, a day after Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“What is he eating? What is he drinking? Does he deserve this? ... He is not a terrorist. He is an analyst and a journalist,” she said through tears.
In the weeks that followed, Turkish officials released grisly details of Khashoggi’s death and alleged dismemberment inside the consulate. But Cengiz said she would not believe her fiancé was dead until an official statement was released.
On Saturday, Saudi officials — who’d repeatedly changed their story about Khashoggi’s fate — finally admitted that the journalist had died inside the consulate. They claimed Khashoggi had been killed in a fistfight ― strangled to death in a chokehold as part of a rogue operation gone bad.
“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday.
Following the official confirmation of Khashoggi’s death, Cengiz took to Twitter to mourn her beloved’s passing. She shared a video of Khashoggi being interviewed for a TV documentary. In the clip, a cat hops into the journalist’s lap, causing him to break into laughter. “You should leave this in the film,” he tells the camera, grinning.
“They took your bodily presence from my world. But your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever. My darling #jkhashoggi,” Cengiz wrote in the tweet.