Victims of Soma disaster still wait for justice

Victims of Soma disaster still wait for justice

At least 301 workers lost their lives on May 13, 2014 in a tragedy which took place at a coalmine in Soma, a district in the western province of Manisa.

Reports and news revealed that it was impossible to call this big tragedy an accident.

The system that sacrificed people for more profit and exploited workers had given no value to their safety.

Considering the fake inspections and the so-called warnings, this should probably be defined as murder, rather than an accident.

It has been three years but it might be that you forgot what happened afterwards, especially the speeches, those polished and swanky statements…

Those speeches that started with, “Those responsible will pay the heaviest price,” were very successful. 

Thus, together with the reaction from the public, the names of those responsible were identified and legal actions against them were started; followed by detentions, arrests and trials.

Where are we now? 

Do you know where we are now?

Do you want to know?

A statement signed by 301 artists, politicians and journalists had been released to the public for the 301 workers who lost their lives. 

They asked for a fair trial on the 301 workers’ case. “Judges who started the case should make the final decision,” they said. 

At this point, you are probably wondering what happened to the judge who started the case. I will explain it to you.

The name of Aytaç Ballı, who in 2015 was a judge in Akhisar and got promoted as a criminal judge, started attracting attention in a short while. 

He was 34 years old when he appeared on a rostrum for the Soma case in April 2015, and since the first day, it was said in every news story that he attracted the attention with his dominance on the case file.

Of course, the comforting feeling that there would be a fair judgement that everybody had on their minds and among the grieved families, didn’t last very long.

Interest in the case decreased as the public found other things to grief over, other crises and quarrels, and other issues to have anxiety over. 

With the exception of some persistent politicians like the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel, non-governmental organizations, a couple of journalists and the grieving families, there was almost no one left to follow the trial.

A forgotten case

We have read that the trials were taken to smaller courts due to a lack of interest.

We also read that the defendants said: “This is a FETÖ [Fetullahist Terror Organization] and even DHKP-C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] conspiracy,” while trying to blame the whole crime on someone who lost his life in the accident...

We read that it took so long for the prosecutor to prepare his case that this situation made one of the complainant lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı say, “If the prosecutor’s attitude started to shape in the same direction with that of the defendants and their lawyers than this indicates a big danger.”

We also read groundless rumors saying, “Investigation is being launched against the judge.”

“Something is happening in this case. Look here! Turn around and look,” families and lawyers continuously had said, but the media and public opinion never paid attention. 

In the end, the place of duty of judges Aytaç Ballı and Esra Dokur, who knew the file inside out and perhaps the only ones to know it well, were changed.


At least 301 people are dead...

The most authorized names said justice would be served and they would be brought to account.

Is this the point we have reached?

Discharging the only person “competent” in the case from his duty?

Make families say, “Give back the judge?”

Is this really justice?