18 people responsible for the tragedy arrested
By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
The entrance leading to the galleries of the coal mine in Soma has been sealed with concrete and the search for survivors has been completed.
The rescuers pulled the last two bodies of the miners who remained trapped in the mine shafts, bringing the number of dead to 301.
The Turkish Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, announced that “the rescue mission has been terminated. There are no other miners in the mine shafts”. The main reason the shaft has been sealed is the new fire that broke out on Sunday morning.
18 people were arrested, but not the owner
Four days after the explosion at the mine with the prosecutor’s order the turkish police has arrested 18 people, including executives and staff of the company that operated the mine of Soma, in light of the investigation for the tragic accident.
The owner of the company Soma Madencilik, Alp Gurkan, who owns the mine in still on the loose however. A few days back, the turkish newspapers reported that he has close relationships with the Erdogan family.
The Turkish prime minister, as well as the company Soma Komur Isletmeleri have denied the claims for negligence.
Erdogan has promised he would “shed light” on the causes of the accident, and had highlighted that “such accidents can happen like it happened in England in 1864”!
Erdogan threatened to slap another protester!
After the images that shwed Erdogan slapping a miner in the town of Soma last Wednesday, the DHA news agency published another video that took place the same day and in which the Turkish prime minister can be heard warning a protester that he will be slapped if he boos the Prime Minister.
In the video, Erdogan appears to be approaching a man who is booing him and says: “Do not be rude. Whatever happened in the mine happened. It is God’s will. If you boo the country’s prime minister, you will be slapped”!
In the same video the voice of another man can be heard replying to the Turkish prime minister, saying “Of course, he will be slapped, prime minister. We love you so much, but we are suffering”.
In fear of new anti-government protests and violent episodes the police have set up roadblocks to the streets around Soma and only allows entry to those who have a special permission! The prefect of Magnesia has mandated that the measures will be in effect for the following days.
“The miners deserved to die”
There is an uproar in Turkey regarding the statements of Hürriyet’s columnist, Yilmaz Ozdil, who in relation to the miners of Soma stated that they “deserved to die”. The Turkish columnist who participated in a television show in the network Halk TV said that “the prime minister has said that such accidents can happen. That is all he said. All miners however, during the electoral campaign ran to Izmir to applaud and sing slogans for him. I go one step further; they deserved to die”.
Immediate response was the Energy Minister Taner Yildiz , who said that ” I said that hurts Turkey of 77 million , just fix would say minus one . It is unacceptable these statements .
In the neighboring country there is concern about the outbreak of major anti-government protests regarding the accident at the mine, but also on the occasion of the anniversary of the violent episodes in Gezi park that had begun on May 31, 2013.