Erdoğan files complaints against father investigating daughter’s suspicious death

Şaban Vatan with a picture of his daughter Rabia Naz

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed criminal complaints against the father of Rabia Naz Vatan, an 11-year-old girl who died under suspicious circumstances six years ago, on allegations of repeatedly insulting him, Turkish Minute reported.

Şaban Vatan accuses a senior member of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and local officials of covering up the alleged murder of his daughter and presenting it as a suicide.

Rabia Naz was found injured in front of her apartment in the Black Sea province of Giresun and died immediately after she was taken to a hospital on April 12, 2018.

Although the preliminary autopsy report did not rule out the possibility that she was hit by a car, the doctor told her father she must have fallen from a height or died by suicide.

Her father, however, claimed she was hit by a car and dragged close to the apartment with the evidence scraped off her clothes. He also said the car was driven by the nephew of Coşkun Somuncuoğlu, a former mayor of the district from the AKP.

Vatan later added that Nurettin Canikli, a former AKP minister, had weighed in to cover up the murder.

With the help of freelance journalist Metin Cihan, Vatan’s allegations were brought to public attention, sparking several social media campaigns.

Erdoğan filed the complaints against Şaban Vatan based on Vatan’s social media posts in which he allegedly insulted the president, according to Vatan’s announcement on X over the weekend.

He said, based on court documents, that the indictment against him was accepted on April 16, four days after the sixth anniversary of his daughter’s death.

Vatan said he has been subjected to harassment merely because he has been seeking justice for his daughter for years and trying to bring those responsible for her alleged murder to court.

There was even a court attempt to put Vatan in a mental facility on the grounds that he had psychological problems.

In one of his tweets that was included in the indictment, Vatan accused AKP officials of covering up the murder of his daughter by relying on the power of the ruling party, while in another tweet, he implied that Erdoğan was a “child killer.”

The first hearing in Vatan’s trial was set for May 22.

“This [trial] is the supremacy of the powerful, it’s an act of oppression,” Vatan said.

Journalist Cihan, who was instrumental in drawing public attention to the case, later left Turkey, saying he had received death threats. He is currently living in exile.

Thousands of people are investigated, prosecuted or convicted of insult charges against the president, which is a crime in Turkey according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime was committed through the mass media.

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