Turkish PM's aide who kicked mourner in Soma saved by lapse of time

Turkish PM's aide who kicked mourner in Soma saved by lapse of time

Turkish PMs aide who kicked mourner in Soma saved by lapse of time

Photos taken on May 14 showed Yusuf Yerkel kicking a protester who was held down by security force members, during Erdoğan's controversial visit to the grieving mining town. Photo: Mehmet Emin Al

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advisor, who sparked outrage after kicking a mourner in the mine disaster-struck town of Soma on May 14, has dodged punishment due to the statute of limitations.

An administrative investigation is now not possible anymore due to the time elapsed, T24 news website reported on June 18, after Fahri Kasırga, a higher senior adviser to Erdoğan, failed to initiate an investigation on time. As the one-month limit has already passed, Yerkel will not face any disciplinary action that affects his record as a public servant.

Although Yerkel is saved despite photographic evidence of an alleged crime, Kasırga himself can face disciplinary action in the future. This is because Turkish law stipulates that a superior public officer must investigate any criminal act committed by his subordinate.

The anger in the small mining town of Soma, where 301 workers lost their lives in the worst mining tragedy in Turkey’s history, had turned against Erdoğan during his visit in the aftermath of the accident. Flanked by bodyguards, the prime minister faced boos and calls for his resignation, and at around the same time his adviser, Yusuf Yerkel, was photographed delivering an enraged kick at a protester who was being held down by two members of the Special Forces.

Yerkel then went on sick leave for an injury sustained in the leg he used to kick the protester. Reports later said he had been removed from duty but these were later revealed to be baseless, and he remains in his position.