By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
With every passing hour the number of the victims from the explosion that occurred Tuesday night in the mine area of Soma city of Magnesia is rising. 287 are reported dead and 120 are missing is the tragic account, with the hopes of finding survivors having been reduced dramatically. On Thursday evening it was announced that the fire that had broken through the galleries of the mine immediately after the explosion of the transformer had been extinguished, allowing the rescue teams to access the locations of trapped miners.
The pain is great to the relatives of victims, but their rage is even bigger against the government and Erdogan.
The Turkish media have shown a photograph of one of Erdogan’s advisors (photo) furiously kicking a man during episodes against the Turkish Prime Minister. Yusuf Erkel was next to Erdogan during his visit to the mine Somma, when a man who had relatives killed in the accident complained and while police officers and men of the gendarmerie were removing him, Erdogan’s advisor was kicking him continuously. The opposition has demanded his immediate resignation.
However, Erdogan instead of easing the pain of the victim’s relatives reportedly lost his temper and attacked a protestor.
The boos and the slogan “resign murderer” it seems that caused Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lose his temper and according to the newspaper Sözcü hit a girl, who when she saw him before her began to shout: “What is the murderer of my father doing here?”. Some residents said that Erdogan hit the girl repeatedly.
The AKP replied saying that “Erdogan during the turmoil was pushing his bodyguard to make way”.
What has been considered scandalous is the fact that during the arrival of the Turkish Prime Minister to the accident site among those who welcomed him was the owner of the mine Alp Gurkan! Members of the opposition are wondering “how is it that a man in the company of whom at least 280 people were killed, walk free and on the same day receive the prime minister”. Everything is explained when one takes into consideration the close relationship between Gurkan and the ruling AKP Party. The former, during the time that the AKP has been in power has undertaken the management of dozens of state mines. He also has close family ties with the Erdogan family.
One day after Erdogan the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, also visited Soma. He was also booed by the angry world, but not as intently as Erdogan. In his statement, Gul clearly distant himself from Erdogan, who has shocked with the statement: “these things happen”. “The developed countries are no longer living such tragedies. So we need to rethink our rules and take measures”, said Gul.
The Turkish President visited the mine where 282 people were killed and the hospital where the injured are treated.
However, neither the Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, nor the Minister of Labour submitted their resignation as was expected by the relatives of the victims.
Shocking is the testimony of the miner Taner Kilic who saw his colleagues die before his eyes.
We learned that a fire had broken out. The smoke had even reached our point . We were told not to climb to higher places to avoid becoming poisoned. We stayed in our place for 4-5 hours, but we were running out of oxygen. My friends lost their strengths. I saw everyone around me die. Then came the rescue teams. If they were five minutes I would have died too”.
The bank Asya, which belongs to the leader of the Islamic order of Fethullah Gulen, who is in “conflict” with the Turkish Prime Minister, announced that deletes all the loans to the bank that were taken by the relatives of the victims of the mine.
The move is seen as a political and now everyone expects similar moves by the government through the state banks.
Very quickly after the accident, the private company Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S. tried to defend itself, releasing a statement that spoke of “a tragic accident” .
“It is not an accident , it is murder!”, replied the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK) on its website and invited other unions with their employees go on strikes to protest their outrage .
In Turkey there are 7,000 mines of joint mining (coal , marble , copper , etc.), in which more than 120,000 people are working.