Fifth hearing held against relatives of those who died in the Çorlu train crash

Family members that lost relatives in the Çorlu train crash in 2018 are on trial for holding a press conference outside of the Constitutional Court in 2019. During the last hearing of the case, police officers said the trial made them “embarrassed” when they saw family members of crash victims.

Serkan Alan / DUVAR 

In the fifth hearing of the case against the families of those who died in the Çorlu train crash of 2018, police officers recused themselves from complaints, saying that after the last hearing, they were ashamed to see relatives of crash victims. 

The train crash occurred in 2018 in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ. Twenty-four people were killed and 318 people injured when a train derailed. Expert reports on the crash have determined that the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) is responsible due to negligence. The crash has not been thoroughly investigated and those responsible have not been prosecuted by the government. 

Family members of those killed are on trial on charges of resisting arrest and hindering police activity when authorities tried to break up an unauthorized press conference they held outside of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in 2019. When police officers descended on the crowd of families and their lawyers, the government alleged, they fought the officers.

In the fifth hearing of the case on Feb. 2 at the Ankara Courthouse, however, police officers downplayed this.

Yenal Uluçay, one of the complainant officers, said he did not want to be a part of the lawsuit.

“We do not know the people who beat us. It was very crowded. Even if I see it, I don't remember. I don't know the people who beat me. We did not identify the person. I am not complaining at this stage. I don't want to join the lawsuit,” he said.

“I and my friends did not suffer any injuries,” said another police officer. He said he and the other complainant police officers were “ashamed” when they saw the families of crash victims. 

Those on trial include Mısra Öz, who lost her 9-year-old son Oğuz Arda in the accident, İsmail Kartal, who lost her parents, and Hüseyin Şahin, who lost his child. The lawyers for the families, who supported the protest and press statement outside of the Constitutional Court, Gökmen Yeşil, Mürsel Ünder, Selvi Yüzbaşıoğlu Saltan, and Burak Arı, are also on trial.

After demands by Murat Yılmaz, another lawyer for the families, that the victims be acquitted, the judge suspended the trial until Feb. 11.

(English version by Erin O'Brien)