Hatice Cengiz’s life took a brutal turn four years ago when the man she was going to marry, Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was assassinated and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where she had gone for divorce proceedings from her previous marriage. Cengiz, a Turkish scholar of Middle Eastern affairs, waited in vain for hours at the door of the consulate on that fateful October 2, 2018 for Khashoggi to come out, whose body has never been found.

On the night of October 18, Saudi Arabia admitted his death in a statement and, months later, a UN investigation and other US and Turkish inquiries found evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman knew of and approved the murder. plan to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi by hitmen inside the consular office. Khashoggi would have turned 60 that same month.

Now, the energy crisis derived from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the initial international rejection of Bin Salman for his relationship with crime and realpolitik reigns. “I am disappointed to see Western leaders legitimizing the Saudi prince for energy,” Hatice Cengiz told La Vanguardia, after the conference she gave at the Museum of Communication in Berlin, invited by the Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation. “I feel sadness before these leaders and politicians, who represent their countries; it is a shame for them, including my country,” she stated.

This summer, Prince Bin Salman was received, among other rulers, by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris in July, and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara in June. US President Joe Biden met with him in Yida on July 15; and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, also visited him in Jeddah on September 24 as part of a tour that also took him to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (USA). “Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has become more important for these countries, which have to manage the crisis by knocking on their doors for energy; it is what the Saudi administration was waiting for, thus gaining legitimacy after the assassination”, continues Cengiz.

Following the murder of her fiancé, for whom she continues to call for justice, Hatice Cengiz, now 40, became a human rights activist and has spoken about the case before the European Parliament, the US Congress, the Commission on Human Rights of the UN, and before parliaments of several countries. “Speaking, counting and mobilizing people, doing something, the only thing I have is myself and my own voice, and staying alive,” Cengiz told the audience. I had no strength to live, my pain was so great (…). My emotions were pulling me down, but my thoughts were pushing me forward.”

Hatice Cengiz, who published a book about the gruesome murder of her future husband, says she tries to “turn this ordeal into useful action” and perseveres despite setbacks. “Four years have passed, during which I have experienced real politics, I have personally known the concepts of the world system and the calculations behind closed doors, the economic interests of countries and the balance of power,” she recounted. But along the way, she maintained, she has come to the conclusion that “the rights are not lost as long as there is someone who claims them.”

He has clear memories of the day of the Kashoggi crime. “The waiting time was going up and up, Jamal wasn’t coming out, the clock was ticking and Jamal wasn’t showing up, I was getting worried,” she recounted. My first action was to call the consulate, my subconscious mind told me that everything was fine. While on the phone, I thought that the delay might be due to something unexpected. The shock came when the person who answered the phone informed me that no one was inside and that the consulate was now closed. I said that it was impossible, that I was still here waiting for my fiancé and that I was sure that he had not come out the door of the consulate, because Jamal told me to wait for him here. That conversation woke me up and made me realize that something was seriously wrong.”