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Court orders arrest of state rail company official 4 years after train accident

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A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for a senior official from the state rail company who is standing trial due to alleged responsibility for a high-speed train accident in northwestern Turkey in 2018, local media reported on Thursday.

In July 2018 the northwestern province of Tekirdağ was the scene of a train derailment that claimed the lives of 25 people and injured 328 others. Many said the accident occurred because of the authorities’ failure to maintain the tracks, which were dislodged following heavy rain in the region.

Among the 13 people, including rail employees responsible for the maintenance, repair and yearly inspection of the tracks, who are currently on trial due to alleged responsibility for the accident, 10 attended the 11th hearing on Wednesday, with only two of the three remaining defendants giving excuses for their absence.

Mümin Karasu, a senior official from Turkish State Railways (TCDD), however, failed to attend the hearing although he previously declared that he would via the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS) and gave no prior excuses for his absence.

The TCDD is a government-owned national railway company responsible for the ownership and maintenance of rail infrastructure in Turkey as well as the planning and construction of new lines.

At the end of the hearing that lasted until midnight, the court ordered the arrest of Karasu, also ruling for judicial supervision and a travel ban for eight other defendants, including senior officials and engineers from the TCDD.

The trial was adjourned until Jan. 11, 2023.

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