A prosecutor demanded the arrest of Soma Holding’s chairman Alp Gürkan on March 26 over the 2014 disaster that claimed the lives of 301 miners in the Soma district of the Aegean province of Manisa.
Can Gürkan, chairman of the executive board of the Soma Coal Mine Company, previously applied to the court 14 months ago over suspicions that the incident might have been the result of a sabotage of organizations, such as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Akhisar Heavy Penal Court continued the trial by ruling out Gürkan’s complaint, Doğan News Agency reported on March 26.
Fifty-one suspects are accused of failing to provide adequate safety measures leading to Turkey’s worst ever industrial disaster.
A jail term of up to 25 years is sought for each suspect 301 times.
Before the trial, families of the victims gathered and marched accompanied by several non-governmental organizations, as well as by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies.
A total of 301 mine workers were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on May 13, 2014, after an explosion at the Soma Coal Mine Company’s mine. More than 700 miners were inside the mine when a fire erupted during a shift change.
The accident in May sent shockwaves through Turkey, drawing delayed attention to the lack of job security and sparking outcry against companies making millions of dollars of profit without investing in the safety of their workers.