Widespread Protests About Mine Safety After Turkish Mining Accident

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Widespread Protests About Mine Safety After Turkish Mining Accident



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs jerrym

Turkey coalmine disaster: accident or murder?

The explosion that killed hundreds of coalminers in Turkey was not a random accident; it was the direct consequence of a decade of neoliberalization.

Not even two months ago you could hear Turkey’s urban middle class and youth shouting “thieves!” (hirsiz var!) at a corrupt elite in the Turkish government that illegally enriches itself. Today, as Twitterers report, we hear protesters chant “murderers!” (katiler!) in front of the Istanbul offices of Soma Holdings, the private owner of the lignite mine in Turkey’s Soma district, which just became a death trap to hundreds of coalminers.

While fellow miners, family members and other townsfolk are still digging desperately for survivors after yesterday’s explosion and fire inside the mine, riot police had their hands full washing people away with their water canons in the street where the Soma Holdings offices are located.

As I write this, Turkish news agencies officially report 274 deaths. But earlier today, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz stated that 787 people were working in the mine at the time of the explosion. It seems that there were more miners inside than usual since the explosion occurred during a change of shifts. So it is feared that more than 400 miners are still trapped underground, which runs as deep as 2 kilometres. Those trapped inside run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so time is crucial and rescue teams are pumping oxygen into the mine....



The chronic abuse of worker's rights has been part of Erdogan's governing pattern. 


Erdogan's government has been accused of ignoring warnings about the safety of the mines in Soma.

Hurriyet commentator Murat Yetkin points out that Erdogan's ruling AKP rejected an opposition request for a safety inspection as recently as two weeks ago.

It was with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that rejected a demand for a parliamentary investigation regarding safety in the Soma mines just two weeks ago, on April 29. 

It was the social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) that had submitted the proposal.





CBC News is reporting that Turkey has the highest rate of mining deaths in the world - 7 deaths per miilion tons of coal mined. Exactly what one expects when when the owners boast that "operating" costs are cut 80% after privatization of the mines. 

It also reports that protesters are wearing hard hats and miners' lights to show solidarity with the workers.



Turkish trade unions are planning a one-day strike in protest at the country's worst ever mine disaster which has claimed at least 274 lives. Protests are already occurring in Istanbul. The Erdogan business-friendly government privatized the mine in 2005 and the mine passed a safety inspection as recently as March. However, the opposition called for a further safety inspection only two weeks ago because it was not happy with the inspection. This could have a major impact on presidential elections in August. 

The mine owners boasted that they had cut operating costs by 80% according to CBC News. No doubt saftey standards were part of this. 

Union officials said the recent privatisation of the mining sector had made working conditions more dangerous. ...

Anger erupted against the government in several cities on Wednesday after the disaster in the western town of Soma on the previous day.

An explosion caused the pit to collapse while more than 700 miners were underground.

Government officials said 363 miners were rescued in the hours after the explosion, but no survivors have been brought out since dawn on Wednesday.

Rescuers are still hunting desperately for scores of miners who are missing feared dead, but Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the mine was still on fire hampering their efforts. ...

The head of the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey told journalists that several major groups of unions had agreed to the strike.

Arzu Cerkezoglu also called on citizens to wear black and march on the Ministry of Labour.

"Those who pursue privatisation... policies, who threaten workers' lives to reduce cost... are the culprits of the Soma massacre and they must be held accountable," said a statement by another group, the Public Workers Unions Confederation.

The Soma mine was privatised in 2005. ...

Mr Erdogan has faced criticism on social media for being insensitive, after he cited numerous mining accidents throughout the world, including in Britain in the 19th Century, in defending the Turkish government's record. ...

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the mine when an electrical fault triggered the blast soon after midday on Tuesday. Many of them died of carbon monoxide poisoning. ...


Turkish mining industry

 1,308 Fatal accidents since 2000

  • 263 Died in worst mining disaster in 1992

  • 13,000 Miners involved in accidents in 2013

  • 10.4% Of all work-related accidents last year

ILO, Turkish Statistical Institute





ETA: Here are three videos from the CBC National on the Turkish mining disaster.







Anti-government protests broke out in the mining town of Soma, as well as Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heckled as he tried to show concern. Protesters shouted “Murderer!” and “Thief!” and Erdogan was forced to seek refuge in a supermarket, surrounded by police.

The display of anger could have significant repercussions for the Turkish leader, who is widely expected to run for president in the August election, although he has not yet announced his candidacy. ...

Erdogan declared three days of national mourning and postponed a trip to Albania to visit the mine in Soma, 250 kilometres south of Istanbul. He warned that some radical groups would try to use the disaster to discredit his government.

“Our hope is that, God willing, they will be brought out,” Erdogan said of those still trapped. “That is what we are waiting for.”

Yet his efforts to show compassion — discussing rescue operations with authorities, walking near the mine entrance, trying to comfort two crying women — did not always go over well.

“These are ordinary things. There is a thing in literature called ‘work accident’… It happens in other work places, too,” Erdogan said. “It happened here. It’s in its nature. It’s not possible for there to be no accidents in mines. Of course we were deeply pained by the extent here.”

In this industrial town, where coal mining has been the main industry for decades, Erdogan’s ties to mining leaders were vehemently noted. Townspeople said the wife of the Soma mine’s boss works for Erdogan’s party and the boss himself had skipped town.

“They are trying to look like they care, but they are not helping anyone. There is no urgency, even now. People blame Tayyip,” Nergiz said.

In downtown Soma, protesters, most in their teens and 20s, faced off against riot police in front of the ruling NKP party headquarters, smashing its windows with rocks.

“Our prime minister is a dictator,” said 16-year-old Melih Atik. “Neither the government nor the company took precautions in the mine, and everyone knows that’s why this happened.”

Erdogan has been dogged by corruption allegations and was forced to oust four government ministers in December after they were implicated in a police bribery probe. The scandal deepened after audio recordings were posted on the Internet suggesting corruption by the prime minister and his family members. Erdogan denies the allegations and says they are a plot to discredit his government.

In Istanbul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S. Police used tear gas and water cannons to break up a group who tried to march to the city’s iconic Taksim Square to denounce poor safety conditions.

Police also dispersed a group marching to the energy ministry in Ankara to protest the deaths.

Fences were erected and police stood guard outside Soma’s hospital, where scores of the injured were being treated. Some residents said the men were being pressured by the mining company not to talk about the blast.

Authorities said the disaster followed an explosion and fire at a power distribution unit and most deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Erdogan promised the tragedy would be investigated to its “smallest detail” and that “no negligence will be ignored.”

Turkey’s Labour and Social Security Ministry said the mine had been inspected five times since 2012, most recently in March, and that no safety violations were detected. But the country’s main opposition party said Erdogan’s ruling party had recently voted down a proposal to hold a parliamentary inquiry into a series of small-scale accidents at the mines around Soma. ....






More than 800,000 workers are on a one day general strike today to protest the lack of safe working conditions in the mines and elsewhere after the worst mining accident in Turkish history yesterday claimed at least 282 lives with more than 140 still missing. The following aritcile also includes a video of the strike.


Protests broke out in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities Wednesday over the deaths and poor safety conditions at mines around the country. In Istanbul and Izmir, authorities used water cannons and tear gas to break up the protests. Turkey's largest trade union confederation, representing some 800,000 workers, joined a one-day strike by other unions to demand better conditions for workers.

Miners in Zonguldak, obeying the strike, gathering in front of a pit Thursday but did not enter it. In Istanbul, a group chanted anti-government slogans and carried a large banner that read: "It's not an accident, it's murder."







A photograph of an assistant to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan kicking a demonstrator lying on the ground during demonstrations over the mining accident and save working condditions is causing more problems for the business friendly government. 


Yusuf Yerkel acknowledged it is him in the photo and he plans to make a statement. ...

If the allegations are true, it would likely open a dangerous new chapter for Erdogan's government, which stands accused of neglect and mismanagement of the country's mining industry and its response to the disaster, and has sparked protests across the country that are turning increasingly violent.

On Wednesday, Erdogan furthered angered relatives of the dead and missing miners by saying, "These are usual things."

Nearly 300 miners are dead, and scores are feared missing, in Tuesday's coal mine disaster in the industrial town of Soma in the country's west.




Two videos apparently also show Prime Minister Erdogan himself punching a mourner of the mining disaster. The article includes pictures and videos. 


New accusations of violence have been levelled against Turkey’s prime minister, with claims that he punched a mourner during a visit to the scene of the mining tragedy in Soma.

The fresh allegation came amid fury over a brutal physical attack Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aide made against a protester.

Two pieces of footage have emerged of an apparent scuffle taking place in Soma involving Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ...

The first video appeared on YouTube on Wednesday, but it was not clear precisely what was happening.

However, new footage of the same incident shot from a different angle appears to show two of Mr Erdogan’s bodyguards punching a mourner.

But more damagingly, Nationalist Movement Party deputy Lutfu Turkka posted a message on his Twitter page in which he claims to have spoken to someone who Mr Erdogan allegedly punched in the shop, called Taner Kuruca.

Sky News reported that he wrote: ‘I spoke to Kuruca. The man said he was shopping at the store when Erdogan attacked him, thinking that he was a protester. He said that he was also beaten by Erdogan's bodyguards. Kuruca told me the only thing that he clearly remembers was that Erdogan assaulted him.’ ...

The prime minister's office on Thursday distanced itself from the incident, with one official saying the issue was 'his own personnel matter'.







The following url includes a 25 minute video discussing why Turkish mining is so dangerous.


Four Turkish labour unions have called for a national one-day strike on Thursday in protest against the country's worst industrial disaster, which has killed at least 282 people in a coal mine in western Turkey.

Representing workers in a range of industries, the unions are furious over what they say are poor safety standards since the formerly state-run mine in Soma was privatized.
Opponents blamed Erdogan's government for privatizing the country's mines and ignoring repeated warnings about their safety. Turkey's rapid growth over the past decade has seen a construction boom and a scramble to meet soaring energy demand. 
The International Labour Organisation, ILO, ranked the European Union candidate nation as third worst in the world for worker deaths in 2012. The Turkish government has failed to ratify the ILO's convention on mines.







The highly authoritarian nature of Tureky's business-friendly Erdogan government is becoming more and more extreme. In the country with the largest number of journalists in prison, and lax to non-existent safety standards, Erdogan's behaviour during the mine disaster is becoming even more dictatorial and extremely arrogant in his personal willingness to strike anyone he thinks disagrees with him. 


Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, faced fresh allegations on Saturday over his conduct following the country’s worst mine disaster after he was heard telling protesters they would be “slapped” for booing him.

A recording of the threat was made public after the Turkish leader allegedly punched a man in a supermarket in the western town of Soma as crowds voiced anger over the tragedy.

The government yesterday said rescue workers had ended rescue efforts after retrieving the bodies of the last two missing miners, with the final death toll put at 301.

“What happened, happened. It is from God,” Mr Erdogan is heard saying in footage aired by DHA, a Turkish broadcaster. “If you boo the country’s prime minister, you get slapped.”

In a separate recording, Mr Erdogan – a fierce critic of Israel – was heard issuing anti-Israeli epithets at a protester, saying: “Why are you running away, Israeli spawn?” ...

Criticism of his behaviour intensified further when Evrensel, a Turkish newspaper, reported that he repeatedly punched a teenage girl who had shouted at him: “What is the murderer of my father doing here?”

“The girl was saying, ‘don’t do it, brother’. I’ve never seen anything like this. I was horrified,” the paper quoted an eyewitness, identified only by her initials, GK, as saying. “How can a prime minister do something like this? What is this fury?”

The incident was alleged to have happened in the same supermarket where it was claimed that Mr Erdogan assaulted Taner Kuruca, who worked in the mine where the last Tuesday’s fatal accident struck.

Eyewitnesses told The Telegraph that Mr Kucura was not a protester and merely shopping in the supermarket when the incident occurred. TV footage showed him being set upon by bodyguards, who were later said to have removed the store’s CCTV recording. ...

The revelations will harden the belief among many Turks that Mr Erdogan – whose 11-year rule has faced growing public opposition in the past year – was unsympathetic in his response to the disaster. ...

The miners apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a fire broke out. The causes are under investigation amid widespread criticism that Mr Erdogan’s government – which is said to be close to the pit’s owners – allowed lax safety standards in the mining industry.

Sporadic clashes between police and demonstrators were reported in Soma for a second successive day on Saturday. Roadblocks were set up in the approaches to the town and officers aggressively demanded identity documents of motorists and pedestrians.

At least eight water-cannon vehicles were on the streets, while a group of lawyers who had come from outside the city to offer legal advice to victims’ families said they had been manhandled by security forces.








Anger continues to mount against the corrupt Erdogan govrenment and its crony captitalist ties. 


Accusations of Corruption

Even those who usually stick with Erdogan are outraged, and commentators close to the Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) are asking for the resignation of those ministers responsible, especially Taner Yildiz, the minister of energy and natural resources.

Apparently, there were warning signals: Ozgur Ozel, a representative from the region's Kemalist opposition, had pushed for more inspectors in the mines just a few weeks earlier, because many people from his electoral district had complained about the mine's safety situation. But the AKP turned a deaf ear to the request on April 29, 13 days before the cataclysmic disaster. ...

The Ministry of Labor had never noticed anything abnormal in the mine. In March it had explained that inspections had detected nothing to find fault with. Yoldiz had personally praised the mine as exemplary.

The unions have made it clear what they see as the cause of the failure: corruption. They would like the mine inspectors to be independent and no longer on the payroll of the mining company in the future.

Critics accuse the Erdogan government of having a close relationship to the mining sector. They are already investigating possible ties between Erdogan's party and the company behind the mine.

Footage of Erdogan Attack

For his part, the prime minister is blundering and teetering. The normally charismatic man held a catastrophic speech in which he downplayed the disaster, arguing that these kinds of things have happened before, citing examples from 19th-century England. Liberal commentators scoffed that Erdogan himself had just admitted that under his government, Turkey is at least 100 years behind.

On Wednesday, AKP party headquarters were attacked with stones. The prime minister can't take a step in public without being scolded. And Erdogan's supporters can't seem to get a grip on the situation -- one of his confidants was photographed on Wednesday angrily kicking a protester. ...

The incident not only confirms the prime minister's notoriously temperamental character and testifies to the dramatically worsened relationship between Turkey and Israel, it also raises the question: Is this man still suited to lead a country?

On August 10, Erdogan will have to confront voters' anger during the presidential election. "He will win, because there aren't enough alternatives," Ozkirimli, the Turkey expert, predicts. "But he'll hardly be able to continue ruling as he has."








This certainly highlights that a liberal democracy and NATO memberhip has nothing to do with workers rights or freedom of expression.



Erdogan's AKP party has governed Turkey since 2002 and has become increasingly autocratic, Islamist, and economically and social conservative in its program.


The Justice and Development Party (Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), abbreviated JDP in English and AK PARTİ or AKP in Turkish, is a Far-rightsocial conservative political party in Turkey. It has developed from the tradition of Islamism, but has officially abandoned this ideology in favour of "conservative democracy". The party is the largest in Turkey, with 327 members of parliament. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is Prime Minister, while fellow former party member and PM Abdullah Gül is President. In Turkish, Ak also means white.

Founded in 2001 by members of a number of existing conservative parties, the party won a landslide victory in the 2002 election, winning over two-thirds of parliamentary seats.Abdullah Gül became Prime Minister, but a constitutional amendment in 2003 allowed Erdoğan to take his place. In early general elections in 2007, the AKP increased its share of the vote to 47%; its number of seats fell to 341, but Erdoğan was returned as PM, while Gül was elected President. In the general elections held on June 12, 2011, the AKP further increased its share of the popular vote to 49.8% and secured 327 parliamentary seats to form a third consecutive majority government.

The AKP portrays itself as a pro-Western and pro-American party in the Turkish political spectrum that advocates a liberal market economy including Turkish membership in the European Union. ...


Although the party is described as an Islamist party in some media, party officials reject those claims.[12] According to former minister Hüseyin Çelik, "In the Western press, when the AK Party administration -- the ruling party of the Turkish Republic -- is being named, unfortunately most of the time 'Islamic,' 'Islamist,' 'mildly Islamist,' 'Islamic-oriented,' 'Islamic-based' or 'with an Islamic agenda,' and similar language is being used. These characterizations do not reflect the truth, and they sadden us." Çelik added, "The AK Party is a conservative democratic party. The AK Party's conservatism is limited to moral and social issues."[13] Also in a separate speech made in 2005, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated, "We are not an Islamic party, and we also refuse labels such as Muslim-democrat." Erdoğan went on to say that the AK Party's agenda is limited to "conservative democracy".[14]

The party's foreign policy has also been described as Neo-Ottomanist,[15] an ideology that promotes renewed Turkish political engagement in the former territories of its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire. However, the party's leadership has also rejected this label. 







Several articles help explain why the AKP and Erdogan are able to stay in power. 


Who still supports the AKP is a question I hear frequently from friends all around the world. The answer is simple, with a few intriguing twists.

Let’s first look at the numbers, as they are what matters the most in contemporary Turkey. The most prominent polling agencies concur that the AKP remains the top party in the upcoming municipal elections. Yet, they disagree significantly on what AKP’s vote share will be. The MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center has found that after the Gezi Park protests in July and August 2013, Erdogan’s rallies indeed contributed to an increase in AKP’s popularity. However, since the corruption scandal of Dec. 17, 2013, the AKP has not been able to “increase” the number of its supporters, but rather relies on its core electorate of about 37% — the percentage of actual voters estimated by the polls. The most challenging is the interpretation of the "undecided" votes. When pollsters distribute these “undecided” votes according to the percentage of votes received, the AKP’s vote share ranges between 43-50% among the most respected Turkish polling agencies. ...

Four sets of intertwined reasons may be at play. First, “the cohesiveness of the AKP elite.” A diverse group of men are still standing by the AKP, mainly because they have achieved their current positions not on the basis of merit but on the basis of their unwavering loyalty and unquestioning dedication to Erdogan and the AKP. ...

This brings us to the second reason of “information deficiency.” The majority of the AKP’s core base — 80%, according to the SONAR Research Center — do not get their news from the Internet, which is diligently filtered by the government. Mainstream TV and newspapers did not report on the incriminating audio recordings released on Feb. 24 between Erdogan and his son. What they report is the endless stream of foreign and domestic enemies, scandalous lobbies that are jealous of the AKP, with a goal to terminate Erdogan and end the Turkish success. When the recordings were released on YouTube, AKP pundits immediately penned rather sensational opinion pieces reminding the public about how devout Erdogan and his family are, and how brave Bilal has been standing with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Always a good move to deal the Palestinian card when the opposition questions whether Bilal’s companies are trading with Israel. ...

“Incumbency advantage” is the third factor. Incumbency offers the AKP not only the political resources to control and silence the opposition but also financial resources to campaign at full speed. Incumbency also allows the AKP to carefully utilize carrot-and-stick policies. In the upcoming municipal elections, Turks face the underlying question, "Would you like your district to be at odds with the ruling party?" ...

The last factor is the “electoral system." In the general elections, a party has to get 10% of the national votes to enter parliament. Given that there are about 25 parties participating in the elections — with only three able to pass the 10% threshold — what happens to the votes cast to the other parties? Simply put, it is a winner-takes-all system benefiting the “big” winners.








ETA: The article below also discusses why Erdogan's AKP was so successful in March's local elections. The ability of an economically socially conservative party with religious overtones to attract a large part of the working class because the party focuses on immediate economic concerns for a class that often is in too perilous a position to look to the future and because they obtain their information form other media than the left elite does is something that is also seen in the West. The ever growing dictatorial style is something Canadians are also familiar with in Harper. 


The Turkish people gave Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party a victory in local elections on Sunday, throwing their support behind a man who has increasingly become dictatorial.

Erdogan has clamped down on the press and the Internet, and weeded out his opponents in the police and the prosecutor’s office after corruption charges broke in December. Although, these developments polarized Turkish society, his party retained widespread support. ...

This growing fracture was evident on Tuesday as thousands gathered in Ankara to contest the results and demand recounts. ...

It demonstrates that many Turks are prepared to accept limits on their freedom in order to support Erdogan. ...

Erdogan has won eight consecutive votes – including two referendums – and is breaking all the records, a track record that pours cold water on critics who claim his power is declining. ...

There are two – economically driven – reasons for Erdogan’s victory, said Fadi Hakura, a specialist on Turkish affairs and an associate fellow at Chatham House in London.

First, Erdogan’s base of conservative religious voters tends to come from the lower class and prioritizes economic issues, putting less emphasis on corruption or freedoms typical in a democracy, Hakura told the Post.

Second, in Turkey, the right wing is traditionally seen as favorable to the poor sectors of the population, while the Left is deemed elitist, he explained.

In additional, he asserted, there is “a high tolerance for corruption in Turkey.”

Asked if the population simply does not care about the Internet restrictions, Hakura responded that only around 34 percent of Turks use the Internet and 15% use Twitter. “It is the tech savvy and globally connected” who are making a fuss. ...

“This is certainly an election victory for Erdogan,” Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish columnist for Hurriyet and a regular contributor to the International New York Times, said.

“One can say that he lost votes compared to the general elections of 2011, in which he won 50%, but the decline could have been much bigger, if Erdogan were not able to mobilize his base,” he said.

“He has been able to convince many that the recent corruption scandals are in fact a thinly veiled attack on this government,” said Akyol, arguing that the recently revealed wiretaps that supposedly uncovered wrongdoing by Erdogan seem to have backfired and been dismissed as a conspiracy.

As for Turkish society, Akyol acknowledged that “the polarization has only gotten deeper.”

“The fact that Erdogan keeps winning only makes his opponents more desperate and angry, while making his own base exuberant and victorious.

The only way out would be national reconciliation and consensus, which seems too far right now,” he concluded.

Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, told the Post that Erdogan has maintained his support despite the corruption scandals and authoritarian actions.

“We may see a growing dictatorial style, and more polarization of Turkish society will ensue,” Inbar warned.







epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Low-Cost Mass Graves for the Working Class:
Miners Massacre in Turkey


Calls for Action

The AKP may be the same but the people have changed. If this massacre had taken place in 2012, one might have said, “nobody will care.” But since the June Gezi Park Uprising of last year, however, a significant section of Turkish society is ready to take action whatever the price.

Millions of people observed the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a young boy who was murdered by the police in Istanbul and the clashes with the police forces went late into the night. The same for this year's May Day, in which thousands crowded the streets of Istanbul and fought to make their way to the historic Taksim Square.

Apart from killing hundreds of workers, the Soma explosion is also unveiling the fury and exhaustion that the working classes feel toward the AKP government. Various calls have been made by the unions and political organizations, inviting people to the streets.

Anger continued to spread across Turkey on Thursday. Many thousands of workers engaged in protests strikes, and clashed with security forces. Protests took place in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Zonguldak and others. A common slogan is that “It's not an accident, it's murder.”

Now as the anniversary of the June Uprising draws closer, everybody hopes that the Soma Massacre would be the final chapter of the AKP period, and make way for a new democratic opening and the re-appearance of socialist politics in Turkey.




ETA: Erdogan has accused the BBC of hiring actors to act as Soma residents who attack the government. A pro-Erdogan newspaper has blamed Jews as being behind domestic and international criticism of Erdogan for the mining disaster. Any accusation will do during a storm of protest. By the way, Turkey has the largest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused a BBC Turkey reporter of hiring two actors to pose as relatives of dead Soma miners.

A 59-second clip, shot by journalist Rengin Arslan for the BBC in Turkey, showed two veiled women at the cemetery in Soma, claiming that they previously voted for Erdogan's ruling AK Party but after the Soma mine disaster, which killed 301 people, they changed their minds. One woman said that in Soma people voted for AK "out of fear" and received bribes to do so. 

At a party meeting following the BBC broadcast, Erdogan accused the women of faking their connection with the miners, and lying to the international press. In a statement, BBC Turkey described the criticism as an "unfounded allegation" and stood by its video.

"BBC Turkey did not interview the women, we just filmed the two women while they were talking" the statement said. "We also have confirmation that they are miners' wives. For all these reasons, we stand behind the news reported."




Turkey’s pro-government daily Yeni Akit sought to implicate Jews in the country’s recent Soma coal mine disaster that left over 300 dead, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Wednesday.

The paper blasted its distaste for Jews with a headline that criticized the mine’s owner for having a Jewish son-in-law and ”Zionist-dominated media” for distorting the story.

Hurriyet said Yeni Akit ”has a long track record of anti-Semitic slurs” and noted the front page wording used to describe Alp Gürkan, the mine’s owner, for “giving his daughter to a Jew,” which it implied to be the main reason why the “Zionist-dominated domestic and foreign media” was “attacking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” to “distort” the truth behind the disaster.

“While the cartel media in cooperation with Jews, Jew-lover parallel media and Jew controlled western media targets the Prime Minister over the Soma disaster, it is revealed that the groom of Alp Gürkan, owner of the company responsible for the disaster, is a Jew named ‘Mario Asafrana’ who changed his name and is now called ‘Mahir’,” the paper wrote.







 Protests over the largest accident in Turkinsh mining history and the attitude of the the Turkish government towards worker safety and the protests themselves continue to grow with the death of two protesters. 



In the wake of bloody clashes that left two people dead and several wounded in the working class neighborhood of Okmeydani in central Istanbul, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a speech Friday to the party faithful of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that seemed designed to provoke wider violence and lay the groundwork for a more intense crackdown.

The demonstrations in the area were part of a nationwide wave of protests sparked by the industrial massacre last week of 301 miners at the Soma coal mine in western Turkey. The protesters were also commemorating the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, from the same neighborhood. During last year’s wave of protests, the youth was struck in the head by a police tear gas canister as he went out to buy bread and spent 269 days in a coma before dying in March. ...







Thirty thousand protesters rallied outside a Cologne Germany stadium while Erdogan spoke inside to a crowd of 15,000 supporters last week. Germany has a large Turkish population and many were protesting the large number of deaths in the Soma mines and the increasing lack of democracy in Turkey.  


The following video shows both the inside and outside crowds for and against Erdogan.









The following article discusses in detail six comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that show his authoritarian, arrogant style, including his comments on the Turkish mining disaster.