Twitter ridicule follows sloppy media fabrication on Khashoggi case

Published: Updated:

The wave of unverified news reports from Turkish media since the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, has provoked widespread ridicule among users on social media.

This has pushed many of them to take to Twitter, considering that these media campaigns are contradictory and lacking in credibility. Each time, several reports are proven wrong by hard facts that causes them embarrassment in front of the international public opinion.

Qatar's Al Jazeera received the biggest share of ridicule because of the great contradictions between its programs and the broadcast news based on unknown sources first reported from Turkish media outlets, forcing it to delete a series of tweets after they were deemed false in the end. Social media users have carried out campaigns to investigate the reports and refute the statements, rumors and allegations promoted by those channels against Saudi Arabia.

Amid this state of astonishment at the beginning and which later on turned into ridiculous reports from the news agencies and well- known media outlets, below is a review of some of the uncorroborated media coverage about the Jamal Khashoggi case:

Day off for staff in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul

Al Jazeera news channel broadcast a misleading report claiming that the Saudi consulate in Istanbul granted the Turkish security guards leave on the same day that Jamal Khashoggi entered the consulate’s building, while the self-claimed fiancée Khadijah (Hatice Cengiz) said literally in an interview with Al Jazeera: “Then I went at the gate and asked them Professor Jamal entered one hour ago and did not come out, where is Professor Jamal, is he still inside the consulate? The Turkish security said: No one is inside, perhaps you did not notice when he left.”

This statement, which Al Jazeera did not take notice of before spreading the fake news and recorded statements about the day off for the Turkish security staff, provoked responses on social media.

15 tourists and tinted-glass black cars

Turkish media, including the country’s news agency Anadolu, published data surrounding the 15 Saudi tourists, and presented them as an intelligence unit who carried out the killing of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi.

This news carried by international news sites did not hold long, as it soon turned out that the 15 persons were tourists and had visited Turkey on different occasions. Their pictures were edited and one of them was with his wife at the airport, and were not in the private terminal hall as they claim.

The two “private” planes which were reported on the runway had nothing to do with the story. All these fabricated news drew ridicule from social media users.

Turkish legal experts themselves ridiculed this report and a former officer and a Turkish security expert said in a televised interview: “It is impossible for a state to carry out a dangerous intelligence operation and bring the team performing the operation in their real names. I think there is a third party behind this.”

What about the Apple watch?

One of the most serious leaks by a local Turkish newspaper was that the Apple Watch worn by Jamal Khashoggi recorded audio clips during his alleged interrogation, torture and killing, and was transferred to his cellular phone which was with his alleged fiancée who was waiting outside the consulate building. The newspaper added that the alleged killers, after noticing the watch, accessed it with Khashoggi’s fingerprint and deleted some of the footage.

This fabrication was blown up when a specialist working for “Apple” was interviewed by CNN denying the claims, asserting that Apple does not have a feature to record and send files, in addition it does not have the fingerprint feature.

Even Saudi consul’s son was pushed into Khashoggi case

The anti-Saudi media campaign did not stop at these points. It also pulled in the son of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, into the fabricated campaign, describing him as “the strange visitor to the consul’s house”.

The photograph shows him in a white lab coat entering the residence of his father, the Saudi consul general, as he returned from his Turkish university where he is studying medicine. These media fabrications portrayed the university student as a participant in the “murderous team”, before retreating from their earlier reports after discovering the truth.