Two factory owners sentenced to 16 years over 2020 deadly explosion in Sakarya

A Turkish court sentenced two owners of a fireworks factory to 16 years and three months in prison in a case concerning the death of seven workers as a result of an explosion in Sakarya's Hendek district in 2020.

Duvar English

A court in the northwestern province of Sakarya on Feb. 28 sentenced two bosses of a fireworks factory, Ali Rıza Coşkun and Yaşar Coşkun, to 16 years and three months each in prison for "causing the death and injury of more than one person by deliberate negligence" over a deadly explosion.

The blast in the factory in the Hendek district of the northwestern province of Sakarya in 2020 killed seven people and injured more than a hundred people.

A total of seven defendants were standing trial in the case, two of whom were imprisoned pending trial. 

The court sentenced factory manager Hasan Ali Velioğlu to 12 years 6 months, and another four factory employees to 6 years 8 months in prison each.

The court released Velioğlu from custody "taking into account the time he spent in jail," while ruled to keep Yaşar Coşkun in jail for him to serve the rest of his sentence. 

Before the hearing, representatives the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DİSK) and members of political parties gathered in front of the Sakarya courthouse. 

In a statement, TBB head Erinç Sağkan said that they will follow the case until the end and that the case needs to be seen as a "workplace homicide" rather than a "workplace accident."

Mervenur Yılmaz, sister of worker Halis Yılmaz who lost his life in the explosion, addressed the court during the hearing. "No death can be justified by saying accident, fate, nature. The authorities and inspectors who turned a blind eye to this, as well as the defendants who committed negligence, are also responsible for this massacre.”

Families of the deceased workers and lawyers found the court's sentences insufficient.