The fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Friday he assumed Saudi authorities would not give him problems or arrest him in Turkey, though he was concerned tensions would arise when he visited the consulate in Istanbul.
In an interview with Turkish broadcaster Haberturk, Hatice Cengiz said Khashoggi had not wanted to go to the Saudi consulate, where he was killed shortly after entering it on October 2. The murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident, has spiralled into a crisis for Saudi Arabia and its powerful young ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
International pressure has increased on the Saudi leadership to come clean on the case, after Riyadh shifted its official explanation a number of times. In its latest version, the Saudi public prosecutor said the killing was premeditated, reversing an earlier statement that Khashoggi was killed accidentally in a fight at the consulate.
“His local network in Turkey was very good as you know, his political network as well,” Cengiz told Haberturk. “He thought Turkey is a safe country and if he would be held or interrogated, this issue would be swiftly solved.”
Khashoggi was killed after entering the consulate to obtain a document that would allow him to remarry. He was treated well during his first visit to the consulate on Sept. 28, Cengiz also told Haberturk.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged Saudi Arabia on Friday to disclose who ordered Khashoggi’s murder, as well as the location of his body, heightening international pressure on the kingdom to come clean on the case.