Hatice Cengiz is a Turkish researcher. She is known for being the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist assassinated by the Saudi government.
Hatice Cengiz was born on Sunday, July 18, 1982 (age 38 years; as of 2020), in the Bursa province, Marmara region, Turkey. She attended the religious seminary in Bursa. Later, she moved with her family to Istanbul. She did her studies in Egypt, Oman, Jordon, and United Kingdom. She attained her post-graduation degree in anthropology in Oman. For two years, she studied Arabic in Egypt. She did her Ph.D. at Istanbul University, where she researched Omani Culture and practices and wrote her thesis on Daesh (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Financial Times
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
Hetice Cengiz belongs to a conservative middle-class Islamic family in eastern Anatolia, who support the neo-Islamist party ruling Turkey. Financial Times
Parents & Siblings
Her father is a kitchenware merchant, and nothing is known about her mother. Hatice is one of the five children of her parents.
Husband & Children
Earlier, she was married to a man and has a child with him. Later, she got divorced. In May 2018, she met the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a conference in Istanbul. Jamal is a member of the influential Khashoggi family of Saudi Arabia that served the royal court of Saudi Arabia. In an interview, she talked about her first meeting with Jamal and said,
At the time, I was writing for a Turkish political magazine and I walked up to him during a coffee break and introduced myself; I said I wanted to interview him for a political website. He came over to me during the second break and agreed to talk. We talked for half an hour and I recorded the conversation. I still have it on my mobile phone. He later told me that he’d liked my attitude and the fact that I spoke Arabic, not that he was interested in my looks.”
They began communicating through emails, where they shared and discussed their views, opinions, and insights on current affairs, political issues, and the Arab world. Soon, they began dating and decided to get married. Initially, her father was hesitant about their marriage because of their big age gap of 22 years. Eventually, he agreed after seeing their sincerity towards each other. On September 16, 2018, in presence of Hatice’s family, Hatice and Jamal got married according to Islamic traditions.
On October 2, 2018, Jamal visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive proof that certified him ‘not married’. The certificate would have helped Jamal and Hatice to get married legally. However, Jamal never came out of the consulate and was assassinated the same day.
Hatice Cengiz researches on the middle east. She also does freelance writing, writing opinion columns and articles for national and international news platforms like HuffPost. She has also penned many books; one of her known books being ‘Umman Sultan Nabus: ve Mezhepler Arası Bir arada Yaşama Örneği.’
- Food: Beyti
- Beverage: Caffe Latte
- She uses the username ‘Mercan Resifi’ for her Twitter account. Hatice Cengiz – Twitter Account She also used ‘Khadijat Genkiz’ (in Arabic) as her Facebook name. She was once popular as Khadijat Genkiz. Hatice Cengiz – Facebook Account
- On October 2, 2018, she accompanied Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to collect documents proving that Jamal had divorced his wife. As Jamal entered the consulate, she waited for him outside, holding two of Jamal’s phones. According to reports, Hatice waited for Jamal for hours before she reported him missing to Turkish authorities and Jamal’s friend (advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) after he had failed to come out even after the office hours of the consulate was over. A few days later, Jamal was declared to have been killed inside the consulate by Saudi’s foreign ministry.
- Since the day of Jamal’s disappearance, Hatice has fought tirelessly to gain justice for him, be it nationally or internationally. She gave several news interviews, wrote opinion columns, and demanded help from Turkish, US, and UK authorities, and other organizations like United Nations, to punish the murderers of Jamal.
- In her struggle to fight to give justice to Jamal, she approached many people and also begged the US government to help her find her fiance. In her Washington Post op-ed, Cengiz wrote,
At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance. I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate.”
- In 2019, she also wrote the book on Jamal titled ‘Jamal Khashoggi: His Life, Struggles and Secrets,’ which was motivated by a personal diary in which she had written the account of her first encounter with Jamal, his personality, and relationship with friends and family members.
- On March 2, 2021, when US lawmaker Ilhan Omar introduced a bill to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for his role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Omar quoted Hatice and stated,
If the Crown Prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder.”
- Hatice and Jamal shared many views and opinions. According to her,
We supported democracy, human rights, the freedom of opinion and press freedoms. We also shared the view that political Islam can be compatible with democratic principles.”
- In 2020, she was featured in the American documentary film ‘The Dissident,’ based on the murder of Jamal and Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder of Jamal. The documentary film was directed and produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Bryan Fogel.