Detention of journalists covering shady death of 11-year-old draws criticism

Turkey’s opposition lawmakers have reacted against the detention of two journalists who were following a case of the suspicious death of an 11-year old girl, Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Wednesday.

Turkish police detained journalists Canan Coskun and Kazim Kizil on Wednesday in Eynesil, a town in the northeastern province of Giresun, where Rabia Naz was found dead in front of her house on April 12, 2018.

Suspicions about the girl’s death were aroused after Turkish police swiftly announced that she committed suicide by jumping from the roof of her house.

The 11-year-old’s father, Saban Vatan, found as a result of his own investigations that his daughter was hit by a car driven by relatives of then Eynesil mayor from the ruling AK Party (AKP).

Vatan further believes that Rabia Naz was then left in front of her house and the accident was covered up by authorities, including Turkey’s then-deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli.

Journalist Tunca Ogreten indicated in a tweet on Wednesday that Coskun and Kizil were detained while they were following Rabia Naz’s case together with a commission that consists of members of the Turkish parliament.

Critics argue that the alleged involvement of senior ruling party officials in a cover-up has contributed to AKP’s loss of Eynesil, its former stronghold district, in the March 31 local elections to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Filiz Kerestecioglu, an MP from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and a member of the commission, reacted to the incident on her official Twitter account.

“Journalists investigate and question, it’s their job to do it. They do not obey [any authority]. They [Coskun and Kizil] must be released immediately,” the pro-Kurdish lawmaker said in a tweet.

Speaking to Evrensel daily, Kerestecioglu also underlined that people in Turkey have lost their belief in the concept of justice.

“A father or journalists should not be involved [under normal circumstances] in an investigation of a case in order for it to be carried out transparently. …

Turkey must restore its citizen’s belief that justice can be served in a case [even if they don’t interfere in the process],” she explained.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the secular opposition CHP, also stated in a tweet that they will be following the issue, which he defined as a case of “severe intervention in journalism.”

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