AKP MP files criminal complaint against grieving father for alleged slander

A lawmaker from the ruling party announced on Monday that he filed a criminal complaint against a father who lost her daughter in a suspicious incident, claiming that the father was slandering and insulting him.

Nurettin Canikli, deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development (AKP), posted a series of messages on his Twitter account stating that he has filed a criminal complaint against Saban Vatan, the father of deceased schoolgirl, Rabia Naz Vatan, claiming that Saban was continuing to accuse him of covering up the real cause of his daughter’s death.

“[Despite all my efforts to bring the truth to light regarding the incident] the father, Vatan, has continued to slander and insult [me] through [his] social media [account]. For a long time, I did not file a lawsuit [against him], thinking that he was behaving like that since he suffered from the sorrow. I even withdrew the case which I had filed the first place. However, it has become imperative for me to take legal action against the father’s slanders and defamations that continued and have reached an unbearable level,” Canikli argued.

The AKP senior added that his complaint was related to the father’s insults and defamations and had nothing to do with preventing the father from posting his allegations regarding the death of his daughter on social media.

Suspicions remain even after a year

Eleven-year-old Rabia Naz was found dying in front of her house in Eynesil, a town in the northeastern province of Giresun on April 12, 2018. She could not be revived.

Accusations started to emerge as a swift police investigation declared her death a suicide.

After some findings regarding Rabia’s death, the family believes that she was hit by a car driven by a nephew of Eynesil’s former (then) mayor of the ruling AKP. The father further claimed the accident was covered up by AKP officials, notably Canikli.

At first, the father’s allegations did not attract attention until journalist Metin Cihan brought the case to the fore by sharing details on his Twitter account in December 2018, with the hashtag #RabiaNazaNeOldu (What Happened to Rabia Naz).

Many have called for a new investigation into the incident as the initial ones ruled it as suicide with her jumping from the roof of her house.

On March 22, Vatan was briefly detained over a complaint by his own brother, Muhammet, who claimed that death threats were being made against him by Vatan. The father alleged that his brother did this at the request of the AKP officials and was paid for the complaint.

“The detention of the father has raised suspicions that the death of Rabia Naz was deliberately covered up,” said Filiz Kerestecioglu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who raised the issue in parliament to question the motives behind the father’s detention.

Vatan’s second detention came with a court decision from the Giresun Penal Court of Peace, which ruled, on April 10, without a committee report, to send him to the Samsun Psychiatric Hospital to be kept under supervision for three weeks in order to determine if he had psychiatric problems.

Late in April, the journalist, Cihan, revealed that the court ruled its decision following complaints by Eynesil’s former mayor, Coskun Somuncuoglu, and AKP’s Canikli.

On April 12, on the first anniversary of Rabia’s death, the action was eventually taken. The Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) – the disciplinary body of the Turkish legal system – ruled in favor of the father and launched an investigation into Rabia Naz’s death.

AKP’s Canikli tweeted that he does not have any links to the incident and, if need be, he is open to his parliamentary immunity being lifted in a bid to bring to light the suspicious death of the child.

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