Turkey’s top court fines state for dispersing mine disaster protesters in 2014
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the right to assembly and demonstration was violated when a crowd that attempted to protest Turkey’s largest mining disaster ever was dispersed by police in the capital Ankara in May 2014.
The top court fined the state 4,000 Turkish Liras (roughly $750) in compensation to an applicant, rejecting the single applicant’s application that the ban on ill-treatment was violated, read a report on the Official Gazette on Dec. 7.
The court ruling noted that the police intervention began simultaneously with a required warning to demonstrators, leaving no time for them to disperse, and it cited Court of Cassation rulings for such necessity to warn crowds in appropriate ways.
“In this concrete case, a duly warning is beside the point,” read the statement.
It also ruled that the intervention was “not in accordance with the requirements of the democratic society order in fulfilling the legitimate goal of maintaining the public order.”
Police dispersed the crowd that gathered in the capital’s central Güvenpark on May 14, 2014, one day after 301 miners died in the Soma district of the western province of Manisa.
The workers were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning 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.
A local court ruled on July 11 to jail Can Gürkan, the mine owner, for 15 years, and the mine’s general manager, Ramazan Doğru, for 22.5 years.
The mine’s operations director, Akın Çelik, received a jail sentence of 18.5 years, while his deputy, İsmail Adalı, was given a sentence of 22.5 years.