The Turkish government launched the Ankara-Sivas High-Speed Train (YHT) service on April 26, which will be available for free for one month.
The United Transport Workers Union (BTS) stated that the project was put into operation before completion and that there are signalization deficiencies on the Ankara-Kırıkkale line, according to daily Evrensel. The union added that a “disaster” could happen without proper operation.
The BTS reminded the train tragedy in the capital Ankara in which nine people lost their lives in 2018 because the train line was opened before completing the signalling system. The union pointed out that safe, fast, and comfortable transportation is the priority of everyone, but the government has turned these projects into a political propaganda tool.
The BTS drew attention to the shortcomings of the Ankara-Sivas YHT line. It's project was started in 2008 and could only be opened at the end of 15 years despite the announcements that it would be opened several times. “Before the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, we see another incomplete opening," the union added.
After the accident in 2018 in Ankara, then Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan argued that “The signaling system is not a must for railway operations.”
High-speed train lines, which were opened without completing the necessary infrastructure works in order to increase the passenger capacity and make more profit for certain lines, caused many deaths and injuries during the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rule.
In 2004, an "accelerated train" between Ankara and Istanbul derailed in Sakarya province, killing 41 people. The reason for the accident was that the train was put into operation without ground surveys and without fulfilling the technical requirements for the new operating speed.
In July 2018, a passenger train traveling from Edirne to Istanbul derailed and overturned in the Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province due to a landslide of the earthen culvert under the track. Some 25 people lost their lives, and 318 people were injured. Turkish State Railways’ (TCDD) failure to carry out the necessary checks on the line and fulfill the technical requirements during maintenance on the line paved the way for the accident.