“Soma was not an accident. It was murder!”
Coal miners in Soma waited for news from rescuers after the biggest workplace disaster in Turkey’s history. The prime minister has sparked renewed protests by defending the company, which had boasted of its cost-cutting business model. Photo: Hilmi Hacaloğlu (VOA).
People in Turkey are sad and angry.
At least 300 workers lost their lives in the May 13 mine accident in Soma, a small town 300 miles from Istanbul. It was the biggest workplace disaster in Turkish history.
But instead of punishing management and promising to improve safety, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has openly defended the company.
Not just in Soma but in all parts of the country, people are angry and mobilizing against the government. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reacted with police violence, pepper gas, and water cannons.
A May 15 general strike called by several union federations was one of the biggest strikes in years. Last summer, protesters defending Istanbul’s Gezi Park against bulldozers touched off national protests against the Erdoğan regime and its pro-business agenda, with significant union participation. Continue reading
Anger and grief boiled over into violent protests across Turkey, as officials announced at least 274 miners died in an explosion and fire in the town of Soma – the country’s deadliest mining disaster.
Nearly 450 other miners have been rescued, the mining company said, but the fate of an unknown number of others remained unclear.
Mass graves were being dug in the town, as it prepared to bury those who were brought to the surface by nightfall, in line with Muslim tradition.
Tensions were high as hundreds of relatives and miners jostled outside the coal mine waiting for news, countered by a heavy police presence. In downtown Soma, protesters mostly in their teens and 20s faced off against riot police in front of the ruling NKP party headquarters.
The protesters smashed the party’s office windows with rocks and some in the crowd shouted that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a ‘murderer!’ and a ‘thief!’ .
And in Istanbul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S. , Erdogan, coal mining, Continue reading