By Hakan Copur
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul regarded Turkey as a key country for
Sarah El Deeb, an AP journalist based in Lebanon, talked to some of his friends.
"Friends say Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a proud Arab who wanted to set up a base in his ancestral homeland of Turkey, contributing to the growing community of exiled Arabs who have taken refuge there," she said in the article.
"For Khashoggi, a history lover, the growing Arabic community and Turkey’s power in the region echoed aspects of the Ottoman empire, when Istanbul was at the center of a rich and multicultural Middle East."
Eiad Alhaji, a Syrian filmmaker and friend of Khashoggi, said: "We used to go together to sit and talk, two strangers outside our country and society, about what is happening with the Arabs in Turkey and in America. Me as a Syrian, and him as a Saudi Arabian."
Another friend Fatih Oke stated that he and Khashoggi had plans to do some projects.
The article said that in his last interviews Khashoggi declared his support for Turkey’s Syria policy but criticized
Azzam Tamimi, a British-Palestinian, said that Khashoggi had found a warm place in Istanbul.
"Khashoggi found a welcoming place in Istanbul. In Istanbul you don’t feel like a stranger, the people, the food, the habits,” Tamimi said.
"Also, Turkey’s current political authority has been the closest to Arabs since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a hundred years ago. Erdogan and his party opened up to the Arabs," Tamimi added.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.