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No Thanks: Fiancée of Murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Rejects Insincere Trump Invite to White House

"I perceived it as a statement to win public favor," said Hatice Cengiz

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, speaking Friday on Turkey's Habertürk TV. (Screengrab)

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, speaking Friday on Turkey's Habertürk TV. (Screengrab)

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said Friday she rejected an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the White House, deeming it an insincere and self-promoting PR move.

In interview with Turkey's Habertürk TV, Cengiz, who is a Turkish national and doctoral student, said of Trump's invitation, "I perceived it as a statement to win public favor."

"In her interview with the Turkish broadcaster," Al Jazeera's reporting noted, "Cengiz said Trump has invited her to visit the White House but said she would not go until the U.S. was sincere in its efforts to uncover the truth behind Khashoggi's killing."

The killing took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Oct. 2—and at the hands of U.S. ally and major arms buyer Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom's public prosecutor on Thursday admitted the murder was premeditated. That marked another shift in its narrative on the death. At first the Saudis said U.S. resident Khashoogi, a critic of corporate media darling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, walked out of the consulate and said that it had no knowledge of his fate. The kingdom then asserted that the death was a result of Khashoggi getting into an argument and "fist fight" with Saudi officials that turned violent.

Turkish authorities are demanding that Saudi Arabia turn over over his body, which was allegedly dismembered, as well as the extradition of 18 suspects from Saudi Arabia, accusing the team of "murder by premeditation, monstrous intent, or by torture." 

In an op-ed published earlier this month at the New York Times, Cengiz wrote, "In recent days, I saw reports about President Trump wanting to invite me to the White House. If he 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."

She added that Khashoggi's "voice and his ideas will reverberate, from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, and across the world. Oppression never lasts forever. Tyrants eventually pay for their sins."

The Committee to Protect Journalists, meanwhile, has called for "an international investigation and relentless pressure on Saudi Arabia from the Trump administration, if we ever hope to get to the truth."

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