Journalist following suspicious death of child flees Turkey, says he’s under investigation

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Father Şaban Vatan holding his daughter Rabia Naz's photograph. PHOTO: Birgün

Metin Cihan, a freelance Turkish journalist who has been closely following the case of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of 11-year-old Rabia Naz Vatan, announced on Tuesday that he had left the country and that an investigation has been launched into him, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

“They tried to put her father away in a mental hospital. Now an investigation has been opened into me,” Cihan tweeted. “I am abroad now. I am going through difficult times. I wish to clearly share everything I know.”

He claimed that officials allegedly involved in the cover-up of the 11-year-old’s death, including local politicians and Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Nurettin Canikli, are being protected as they have not been required to testify in court despite all the legal initiatives to that end.

“I am not an AKP member, but I know that no one in the party likes these people [Canikli and other politicians]. I feel like I am not faced with a government but a mafia,” Cihan tweeted.

He also said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been aware of the issue for months.

“I was asked not to be vocal about this. I stopped saying things out loud so that the issue could be brought to a conclusion,” he tweeted. “Yet nothing has been done to resolve it.”

Cihan said several inspectors were appointed by ministries throughout the process but that all efforts somehow ran into a stone wall in the end.

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

The father, Şaban Vatan, claimed that his daughter was hit and fatally injured by a car and that the accident was covered up by local politicians and Deputy AKP Chairman Canikli, who responded by filing a lawsuit for slander.

It was reported by several websites that there were no blood stains around the front door of the house despite the fact that she had deep cuts, especially on one leg. Eyewitnesses claimed she looked as though she had been carried there by someone.

In addition, on the same day the police in the town were notified about a girl being hit by a black vehicle.

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 higher elevation or committed suicide.

The prosecutor’s office declared that she had died by suicide.

In April of this year a Giresun court ordered the hospitalization of the father to diagnose his mental state.

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