Turkish workers decry deadly gov’t coal mine blast

By Seth Galinsky
October 31, 2022
Reuters/Kemal Asian

Saban Yildirim, one of 41 miners killed in an Oct. 14 coal mine disaster in Amasra, Turkey, had told his wife that “the mine had been smelling of gas inside for 10 days,” his father Kemal Yildirim told the press. But the state-owned mine bosses did nothing.

The explosion took place underground about 1.5 miles from the entrance. Many of the miners were in their early 20s and had only been working at the Turkish Hard Coal Enterprises’ mine for a few years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended several of the funerals. Above, funeral in Ahatlar Oct. 16. The sister of one of the miners in the village of Makaraci told Erdogan because of the gas leak her brother said, ”They will blow us up soon.” They died because of “negligence,” she told him. “Sorry for your loss,” he replied. “May Allah give you patience.”

Erdogan made even clearer his view when he told reporters that same day that he believes “in the plan of destiny,” adding that accidents “will always happen.” A similar mine disaster took place near Soma in 2014, where 301 miners died. It was met with the same kind of government disdain.

Emin Koramaz, a leader of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, had a different view. “If you send miners hundreds of meters underground without taking the necessary precautions, without inspection and without creating safe conditions, you cannot call it an accident,” he said in a statement.