AKP loses Black Sea district after scandal of child death cover-up

The residents of Eynesil district in the northeast Turkish province of Giresun have rejected the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections, after 10 years of rule by an AKP local administration.

The results reflect public outrage with the ruling party after a local father raised suspicions that his 11-year-old daughter’s cause of death had been covered up by local authorities, Turkish news site İleri Haber said.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ahmet Latif Karadeniz was comfortably leading with 55 percent of the vote to the AKP incumbent Coşkun Somoncuoğlu’s 39.5 percent with 60 percent of votes counted at 7:25 p.m. Turkish time (GMT+2).

When Rabia Naz Vatan was found dead outside her family’s home in Eynesil last year, police were quick to rule the death a suicide. Rabia Naz’s father, Şaban Vatan, says police have ignored evidence that suggests she was struck by a car.

Şaban Vatan’s investigations have revealed that a car driven by a relative of Somoncuoğlu was seen near his home around the time of Rabia Naz’s death.

A video shared on social media on Sunday showed Vatan addressing a large crowd in his hometown. “You have taken up the cause of (pursuing justice for) a child murder,” Vatan said.

Somoncuoğlu first won the mayor’s seat in Eynesil as an independent candidate in the 2004 local elections. He joined the ruling party in 2007 and won reelection as an AKP candidate in the 2009 and 2014 elections.