The Associated Press
LONDON – The fiancé of the late Washington Post columnist has condemned Greg Norman’s dismissal of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing as a “mistake”.
The former No. 1 golfer is leading a series of Saudi Arabia-funded tournaments in England and has faced criticism for his comments regarding Khashoggi’s horrific death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
“Look, we all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can improve them going forward,” Norman, 67, said at an event to promote the tournament on Wednesday.
The Australian said “that’s good what the country is doing in changing its culture.”
Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went to the consulate to collect documents needed to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, and never came out.
Cengiz told the Telegraph newspaper on Thursday that Norman’s remarks were “very hurtful”.
“Would you say if it was your darling? How can we proceed, when those who ordered the murder are still not punished, and continue to try to buy back their legitimacy?” Cengiz said. “We must not fall for their riches and lies, and lose our morality and common humanity. We must all insist on truth and justice; only then can we look forward with hope and honour.”
According to the British newspaper report, Cengiz’s statement was released by his lawyer Rodney Dixon. Dixon’s office did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.
Turkish officials said Khashoggi was killed and cut from a bone seen inside the consulate by a team of Saudi agents. The group consisted of individuals who worked for the office of the Crown Prince. His remains have not been found.
Western intelligence agencies and the US Congress said that such a massive action could not have taken place without the knowledge of the Crown Prince.
“I haven’t had a personal conversation with MBS, I’ve never met the man, but at the same time I read that the Saudi government has given their statements and comments about it and they want to move on,” Norman said. .
Australian golfer Karrie Webb, who idealized Norman as a young girl, took to Twitter to vent her criticism.
“The little girl in me just well and truly died!! Has anyone’s childhood hero disappointed them as much as I do now??” Webb wrote on Thursday.
Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which is primarily funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
The first LIV Golf Invitational is scheduled for June 9-11 at Centurion Golf Club outside London, with a 48-man field competing for a $20 million purse on 54 holes. The richest prize winner in golf of all time gets $4 million – and last place gets $120,000.