Bereaved Families Say Public Prosecutor Too Lenient

Earthquake - Turkey

Saturday, 18 November 2023

The indictment prepared by the Adıyaman Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the Isias Hotel, which collapsed during the earthquakes in Turkey on February 6, resulting in the death of 72 people, has been completed, Yeniduzen reports.

The indictment, which requests prison sentences ranging from two years and eight months to 22 years and six months for five of the 11 defendants who are currently in custody on charges of “causing the death and injury of more than one person through conscious negligence*,” has been submitted to the Adıyaman 3rd Heavy Penal Court.

*Conscious negligence refers to the state of the offender who hopes to avoid the result of the act and foresees the possible result, but believes that this result will not occur and performs the act.

The fact that the defendants will appear before the judge on the charge of “Negligence,” and not “possible intent,” has brought the families of the Champion Angels (the designated collective name given to the Turkish Cypriot students who, while staying at the Isias Hotel, died in the earthquake) to the point of revolt.

The Champion Angels Living Association argues that the crime of “Possible intent” was committed in the incident, meaning that an act was committed with complete disregard to the outcome.

Families, who organised on social media, sent a message that the struggle would intensify.

Stating, “Only 22 and a half years of imprisonment are requested for the killers of our children“, the families said that the defendants should be imprisoned for life.

Families organised on Twitter started a campaign called “Earthquake criminals; let them be tried not for negligence but for ‘possible intent‘”.

Turkish Cypriot earthquake victim
[Body of Turkish Cypriot Earthquake Victim Returns Home]
Ruşen Yücesoylu Karakaya, the mother of Selin Karakaya, who was died in the earthquake, referring to the indictment said, “We had already died on the morning of February 6, 2023; today we died once again“.

Karakaya, saying, “Our belief that those responsible for the deaths of our losses will be tried with possible intent is still not over. We did not die from the earthquake on the morning of February 6, İsias killed us. Our children there were not victims of fate, they were victims of murder“.

Sena Bundak Topukçuoğlu, the mother of Mert Niyazi Topukçuoğlu, said, “The punishment for the separation of 35 lives, our children, our teachers, our parents, cannot be negligence. We can never accept this. We want justice. The murderers must be tried with possible intent and must rot in prison for the rest of their lives“.

Pervin Aksoy İpekçioğlu, the mother of Selin İpekçioğlu, said, “Unfortunately, our journey for justice in Turkey started with difficulties.  Our ongoing struggle for justice continues to grow“.

She said, “Many illegalities have been committed at İsias Hotel, all of which have been identified one by one in the comprehensive report prepared by Karadeniz Technical University.

Despite this, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has requested their trial on charges of conscious negligence and has not requested their trial with possible intent. We want to question and make the public question this, saying that there should be more for their trial with possible intent“.

[As of 2018, the Turkish government eased regulations on building safety standards to encourage more construction. Ed.]


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