Turkish miners march on parliament to demand better conditions
ANKARA, Turkey – A group of Turkish miners from the town hit in May by Turkey's worst ever mine tragedy marched on parliament Wednesday, July 16, to urge the government to honor promises made in the wake of the disaster.
The miners from Soma, where 301 were killed, said the authorities were obliged to follow up on pledges to improve working conditions and safety standards.
"We have not forgotten our 301 colleagues," around 1,000 protesters shouted as they walked from the central Sihhiye square to the parliament in the capital Ankara.
Some others unfurled banners reading "Do not remain silent. Speak up. Soma is a massacre!" and "This is not fate!"
The tragedy at the Soma mine reignited concerns over lax safety in Turkey, a country with the highest number of mining deaths in Europe.
Most of the victims in the accident died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
An initial report pointed to several safety violations in the mine, including a shortage of carbon monoxide detectors and ceilings made of wood instead of metal.
The operators Soma Komur, accused of flouting basic safety standards to maximize profits, has denied any responsibility.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party, which has a comfortable majority in the 550-seat parliament, presented a bill to beef up safety and working conditions in mines after the accident.
The handling of the disaster has put pressure on Erdogan's government ahead of the presidential vote next month.
Turkey's previous worst mining accident occurred in 1992 when 263 workers were killed in a gas explosion in a mine in Zonguldak. – Rappler.com