Ever since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Istanbul, the name Hatice Cengiz has dominated the scene and remained at the forefront of news headlines amid the mysterious aura of the past 13 days.
So who is this Turkish woman that emerged from behind her Twitter account to claim that she is Khashoggi’s fiancée?
Hatice graduated from the Sharia college in the University of Istanbul in 2013 and got her MA in 2017 from the Faculty of Social Sciences – History Department at Salahaddin University after finishing a field study about sects in Oman.
She later joined a study program at the Ibn Khaldun University which is affiliated with the Justice and Development Party, and where Bilal Erdogan holds the post of Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
The Ibn Khaldun University which was founded in 2015 signed educational and cultural cooperation agreements with the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies where the Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Azmi Bishara.
Hatice presented herself as a freelance researcher of Gulf countries and presented academic studies about Oman, but the most important question is: Which party was Hatice Cengiz working for then, and which center did her studies and articles serve?
On July 13, 2018, she interviewed Dar Al-Arab media group’s Executive Director Jaber al-Harmi for the foreign policy magazine, which is a periodical that is published in the Turkish and English languages and which is affiliated with the Institute of Foreign Policy that’s affiliated with the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
In the interview, she addressed the convergence between Qatar and Iran and the stance of the countries that have boycotted Qatar.
The topic was under the headline “Qatari-Iranian relations and the region’s developments after America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal,” and in it, Hatice criticized Saudi Arabia in exchange for extending the “olive branch of peace” to the Khomeini regime.
Sources close to Hatice’s family said the family did not know their daughter was engaged to Khashoggi and were surprised to hear the news which they only learnt via media reports, adding that Hatice does not live in the same house with her family.