Turkey dismisses head of state railways

The Turkish government dismissed the head of Turkish state railway who was widely criticised after nine people were killed and 47 injured in a train crash in the capital Ankara in December, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Following the accident, experts said the crash happened as the train line was working without an automated signalling system and railway workers had been using radios instead.

State railways head İsa Apaydın was widely criticised after he the crash and locked his Twitter account to prevent posters making negative comments.

The Transport Ministry did not give a reason for Apaydın’s dismissal.

İsmail Özdemir, the head of the United Transportation Union in Ankara, said the state railways management had ignored complaints and said that the government had expedited the construction of the high-speed railway in order to open the line before last year’s June elections, six months ahead of schedule.

Since 2004, there has been eight deadly high-speed train accidents in Turkey, killing 98 and injuring 540. Twenty-five people were killed and more than 70 injured after a passenger train derailed in Çorlu, in northwest Turkey in July.

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