Turkish miners down tools over disaster

2014-05-20 13:31
(Bulent Kilic, AFP)

(Bulent Kilic, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Soma - The main labour union in a Turkish town hit by the nation's worst mining disaster called on thousands of workers to down tools on Tuesday at mines run by the same operator until the sites have been properly inspected.

Three hundred and one miners died last week after a fire in a mine in Soma, a small town 480km southwest of Istanbul, fuelling anger in a nation which has long had one of the world's worst workplace safety records.

Turkish authorities are holding eight suspects, including the head of the firm operating the mine, on provisional charges of "causing multiple deaths by negligence".

Soma Mining Chief Executive Can Gurkan was remanded in custody late on Monday, joining the mine's general manager and six others who are being held pending a formal indictment.

"We want the mining affairs directorate inspectors to carry out inspections and we will walk out until this has been done," Tamer Kucukgencay, regional head of the Maden-Is labour union, told reporters.

He said the action affected 3 200 mine workers in the town, where Soma Mining has three sites including the one hit by the fire. Monday was a public holiday in Turkey and miners have not yet returned to work.

Economic growth

The disaster has sparked protests across Turkey, directed at mine operators accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

While Erdogan has presided over a decade of rapid economic growth in Turkey, safety standards have failed to keep pace, leaving the country with one of the world's worst industrial accident records.

An initial report on the possible causes of the accident, cited by prosecutor Bekir Sahiner, indicated that the fire may have been triggered by coal heating up after making contact with the air, sending deadly carbon monoxide through the mine.

It was Turkey's worst mining accident, surpassing the death toll of a firedamp explosion that killed 263 miners in the Black Sea mining town of Zonguldak in 1992.

According to the prosecutor's dossier on the investigation, cited by the Radikal newspaper, it was not until 57 minutes after the fire broke out that the fire brigade was notified and another six minutes before ambulance services were contacted.

Radikal said gas masks used by the miners were effective for only 45 minutes.

The plant manager has denied negligence at the mine, which has been inspected by state officials every six months. Alp Gurkan, chair of parent company Soma Holding and father of the detained chief executive, said last week those responsible would be punished if an inquiry found evidence of negligence.

Thirty-six people gave statements to prosecutors over the accident, the prosecutor leading the case said late on Monday. Aside from the eight remanded in custody, the others suspects were released but could still face charges, court sources said.
Read more on:    turkey
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.