Six years without answers: What happened to Rabia Naz Vatan? 

Six years have passed since 11-year-old Rabia Naz Vatan died under suspicious circumstances in Turkey’s northern Giresun province. Father Şaban Vatan repeated his years-long appeals to the Turkish government to illuminate Rabia Naz’s death. 

Duvar English

On 12 April 2018, Rabia Naz Vatan was found heavily injured and unable to talk in front of her home in Turkey’s northern Giresun province.

She died shortly afterward in hospital, leaving behind a family determined to uncover the details behind her suspicious death. 

Since 2018, Rabia Naz’s father Şaban Vatan faced nothing short of defamation, gaslighting, and threats in response to his calls to Turkish authorities to illuminate the circumstances of his daughter’s death.

Rabia Naz’s death remains unresolved, and no defendants have been put on trial concerning the suspected homicide.

Father Vatan has spoken to the ANKA News Agency and summarized the six years of obstacles and uncertainty surrounding the case.

“All everyone wants is to serve the murderer to justice. At this point, every member of the government’s higher echelons is familiar with the case,” Vatan said.

Then Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu personally knew the murderer, and Gül even talked to him on the cellphone twice, claimed the father. 

Vatan continued, “The parliamentary commission that was established to resolve the case has done everything in its power to protect the former minister who ordered the cover-up.”

He emphasized that no action was being taken on the now-retired minister, despite the ongoing probe of his involvement in the case. 

Vatan abstained from naming Nurettin Canikli, former deputy and minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Canikli has pursued legal action against Vatan in the past for "defamation." 

“Rabia Naz is our bleeding wound. We demand justice to even slightly elevate our grief, and let her soul rest,” the father pleaded.

Vatan addressed the current Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç, “If you still claim the rule of law persists in this country, you must fittingly punish the murderer and his abetters.”

In the aftermath of Rabia Naz’s death, authorities claimed that the child committed suicide. Her father insisted that she was hit by a car driven by the nephew of then-Eynesil Mayor Coşkun Somuncuoğlu from the AKP. 

Vatan also maintained that then-AKP deputy Nurettin Canikli personally intervened to cover the story up.

The following process descended into hearsay when Vatan’s brother Muhammet Vatan claimed that he had mental health issues in an attempt to cast doubt on his allegations.

In addition to several attempts to make Şaban Vatan "receive treatment" in a psychiatric clinic, Canikli filed complaints against him over "insults and slanders."

Meanwhile, DNA profiles possibly belonging to multiple individuals, of whom one is certain to be a male, were found under Rabia Naz's fingernails, a 2018 forensics report said.

Metin Cihan, the first journalist to attempt to shed light on how Rabia Naz died and bring the case to public attention, had to leave Turkey in 2019 upon “repression” from the Turkish government regarding his independent probe into the case. 

Cihan continues to demand justice for Rabia Naz. In a social media post marking the 6th anniversary of her death, Cihan asked everyone to keep asking about what happened to Rabia Naz.