A penal court in the Çorlu district of Turkey’s Thrace province of Tekirdağ on Jan. 24 refused victims’ request for an expert re-investigation regarding the 2018 Çorlu train accident that killed 25 passengers. The 18th hearing of the case ended without a ruling for the defendants.
On July 8, 2018, the train operated by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) between the Thracian Edirne province and Istanbul derailed in Çorlu. Some 25 passengers including seven children died in the accident, and 328 people were injured.
Expert reports on the crash have determined that the TCDD was responsible, and 13 officers were put on trial for “murder and injury by gross negligence,” asking for sentences between two to 15 years.
TCDD paid over 21 million liras (690.000 dollars) total in compensation to the families of 14 victims and 30 injured passengers in 2021, settling with them out of court.
Families of the victims and some survivors of the crash organized a march to the location of the hearing to commemorate their loved ones and demand justice for their deaths.
Although this was expected to be the final hearing of the case, the judge ruled to have the next hearing on Feb. 29 and denied requests by the victims for an expert reevaluation to potentially expand the investigation.
The mother of nine-year-old victim Oğuz Arda Sel and long-time advocate for the victims Mısra Öz spoke for the victims’ families after the hearing.
She stated that the defendants’ testimonies blamed upper management of the TCDD, and expressed their wish to extend the investigation to include senior officials from the TCDD, which was denied by the court. Öz added that they expected the next session would be the final hearing of the case.
A court in 2021 fined Öz 8,840 Turkish Liras for allegedly insulting public officials in her social media posts about the train accident.