Diverting from science costs lives in Turkey
They are smiling at us from the pages of a newspaper, from within photo frames...
Their enthusiasm, excitement and joy for their journey awaiting them spill from their smiling expressions...
Oh, how young they are…
The 20-year-old Özgenur Dikmen, who is a university student, is hugging her younger sister, 12-year-old Gülce, in a picture taken by the sea.
Gülce is putting her head on the right arm of her older sister, and her left arm on top of Özgenur’s hand. The feelings of security and happiness of being in her sister’s arms have blended here.
Now, the sisters are walking hand-in-hand in another world that opened its doors to them.
In another picture, a nine-year-old, Oğuz Arda Sel, has one foot on a step getting on the train’s wagon. He is gesturing the peace sign with both hands for his father, Hakan Sel, who is behind the camera.
At such a young age, he is displaying his life manifesto. We learn from a report published on the daily Hürriyet that his biggest dream was to play for Barcelona.
Had he been alive, I’m guessing Arda would not have missed the World Cup finals this past weekend.
Although he was a fan of Barcelona F.C., I believe he was familiar with Luka Modric of Real Madrid.
Now, he is walking with his father, firmly gripping his hands, in a world of a different kind.
And then there are those who did not get a chance to see what this life even is.
Beren, who died in the crash along with her mother Derya Kurtuluş, was only five months old.
Now, she, too, is with her mother in the other world, lying in compassionate arms.
The train embarked from the northwestern province of Edirne’s Uzunköprü district after it was given the go on July 8. It was a Sunday when the train on its way to Istanbul’s Halkalı district began moving slowly on the tracks.
The passengers on board were not aware that the rainfall had emptied the filling on the culvert in the Muratı-Balabanlı region. In other words, they did not know death awaited them on their train journey.
At 5 p.m., the train would arrive in the gap, the wagons would derail one after the other, and 24 people would die in the tragedy. Another 341 would be injured.
A train crash unlike anything we have seen before... We understood that when we saw the pictures of the train tracks hanging in the gap. Now, those tracks hang in our minds, piercing through our conscience.
Blood should pour from inside us. Let it bleed.
That the weather conditions have emptied the soil filling beneath the tracks, and such an accident could happen in 2018 is a collective shame of our country.
At a time when Turkey utters words of promises, pronouncing new initiatives in new and big arenas, such an accident that happened due to a rainfall and killed 24 of our citizens casts a sdark hadow on all this rhetoric.
Once more, the people have paid the price with their lives for the country diverting from the route of science. The accident occurred due to a very specific reason, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects’ Chamber of Geology Engineers said.
“Considering regional, geological and geotechnical qualities, as well as the meteorological tendencies, the fillings and the protective walls that are necessary measures against floods and which should have been placed above were not constructed properly,” they said.
How the necessary engineering parameters were overlooked and the fillings were made with soil have invited such atrocity.
Another reason for the crash, the statement says, is that the routine inspections were not done.
Had these inspections been conducted, they would have seen that the tracks were hanging in the air, and the permission would not be given to the train to take off from Uzunköprü that day.
Those 24 people, including Özgenur, Gülce, Arda and Beren, would have been alive.
Also, we understand that officers who were organizing the routes were laid off in 2013 due to “costs.”
Yes, surely in this country costs are of utmost importance. In this country, the government saves money by laying off officers who help maintain train route security.