Retrial on Isparta plane crash ends after 17 years as penalties upheld

The long-awaited conclusion of a retrial stemming from the 2007 plane crash in Isparta has finally been reached, as the top appeals court's criminal chamber approved the penalties for airline officials involved in the incident.

The crash, which claimed the lives of 57 individuals, including renowned physicist Engin Arık from Boğaziçi University and five other academics, captured nationwide attention.

In the latest development, the Court of Appeals completed its review regarding the initial verdict handed down by an Isparta court against Tuncay Mustafa Doğaner, then vice chairman and general manager of Atlasjet Airlines, and Mehmet Şerif Erbilgin, former flight operations manager.

Both men had initially been acquitted in the main case file, only to face retrial and subsequently be sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for "manslaughter."

The incident unfolded on Nov. 30, 2007, when a passenger plane operated by World Focus Airlines, carrying Atlasjet passengers from Istanbul to Isparta, crashed near the Keçiborlu district.

The aftermath saw a protracted legal battle, with a civil lawsuit being initiated in 2009. Initially involving 10 defendants, including senior and technical personnel from World Focus Airlines, the number of individuals on trial swelled to 20 over time.

On Jan. 6, 2015, the Isparta court handed down sentences ranging from 11 years and eight months to one year and eight months for eight of the defendants, while 12 others, including Doğaner and Erbilgin, were acquitted.

However, upon appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the sentences for World Focus Airlines officials but overturned the acquittals of Doğaner and Erbilgin.

In its decision, the chamber stated that Doğaner and Erbilgin...

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