In a criminal complaint inquiry, the father of an 11-year old girl has blamed a former defense minister of Turkey for covering up the circumstances that led to his daughter’s death.
The Independent Turkish online news portal reported on Thursday that Saban Vatan leveled the accusation of a coverup against Nurettin Canikli, during his testimony before a prosecutor at the Giresun Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.
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.
Suspicions were aroused when the police investigation swiftly declared her death a suicide by jumping from the roof of her house.
After obtaining some information in connection with Rabia’s death, Vatan was left with the belief that his daughter was struck by a car driven by a nephew of Eynesil’s former (then) mayor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He further believes that the critically injured Rabia was then brought to an abandoned house before being left in front of her house.
The father further claimed the accident was covered up by Canikli, who then served as the country’s deputy Prime Minister.
The father’s allegations attracted attention only after journalist Metin Cihan brought the case to the fore by sharing details on his Twitter account in December 2018, with the hashtag #RabiaNazaNeOldu, which literally means ‘What Happened to Rabia Naz’.
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.
The former minister denied any involvement in the incident and filed five criminal complaints against the father in May, claiming that the father was infringing his personal rights with slander and insults.
The father first testified as plaintiff for his complaint, and later as suspect for the minister’s complaints. He later shared his testimony to the prosecutor through his social media account.
In his testimony, the father accused AKP’s Canikli of intervening in the investigation and covering up the incident.
“Then-minister Canikli intervened in the investigation process by personally contacting the Giresun Provincial Police Department,” claimed Vatan.
The father demanded an investigation be launched into the phone calls between Canikli, the then-mayor, police chief, prosecutor, and governor. He had previously demanded a forensic investigation into a DNA evidence taken from the abandoned house.
Vatan claimed in his testimony that the former minister sent his fellow, Hakan Karaahmet, to the province in an effort to threaten local media outlets.
Vatan’s attorney, Emel Bodur Kilic, told Independent Turkish that her client also gave testimony for all five complaints by Canikli.
According to the lawyer, the prosecutor should issue a verdict of non-prosecution against her client in compliance with the previous rulings by the Turkish Court of Cassation and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which ordered the politicians should be open to criticism.
According to a report by online news portal Gazete Duvar, the father was not optimistic regarding the outcome of his criminal complaint against Canikli.
“They [Canikli and public officials] do everything to cover up the incident. I know that I will achieve no result from the complaint. That is because I am an ordinary citizen, while they are those who have judicial powers at hand. That is why they pay no attention to civil rights and laws. The justice in Turkey today is in this situation of which the public is also aware,” said Vatan.