According to the decision published on the Official Gazette on September 20, general manager of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) İsa Apaydın has been dismissed. A new appointment for the position has not been made yet. Apaydın was widely criticised after several train accidents and especially when he locked his Twitter account to prevent negative comments. The Transport Ministry did not give a reason for Apaydın’s dismissal.
Apaydın and several other TCDD officials were found “faulty” at the expert report prepared after the high speed train accident in Ankara on December 13, 2018, killing nine, injuring 86. Families of the victims have ever since been blaming the TCDD for negligence. Last year’s accident happened when a high speed train collided with a locomotive and crashed into a station platform and overpass in an Ankara suburb at Marşandiz train station, 8 km from central Ankara.
Meanwhile a guide train was derailed in a tunnel in the northwestern Bilecik province September 19, killing two mechanics. The guide train was dispatched early in the morning to check the High Speed Train (YHT) route between Ankara and Bilecik. The train was derailed inside a tunnel near Ahmetpınar village in Bozüyük district and hit the walls of the tunnel, killing mechanics Recep Tunaboylu and Sedat Yurtsever.
High Speed trains between Istanbul and Konya, and Istanbul and Ankara were temporarily suspended. Passengers were bussed between Boyüyük and Bilecik. An investigation into the cause of the derailment is underway.
Governor of Bilecik, Bilal Şentürk, said the train was travelling above the speed limit of 30 kilometers inside the tunnel.
Families of victims in earlier accidents are blaming TCDD officials for not taking necessary measures. They claim the high speed lines were hastily opened to please the government while technical preparations were not thoroughly completed.
In another fatal railway accident which occurred in 2018 at the Çorlu district of Tekirdağ Province, near Istanbul, when a train derailed, killing 24 passengers and injuring 318. There were 362 passengers and six crew on board. Officials announced in a statement right after the accident, that the derailment occurred after the railway track slipped down from its original position due to torrential rains.
Since 2004, there has been eight deadly high-speed train accidents in Turkey, killing 98 and injuring 540.