Turkey promises action over mine disaster; two more charged

May 20, 2014 - 6:53:56 am

ANKARA: Two more officials in Turkey have been charged with manslaughter as the government promised “a plan of action” to improve mining safety after the country’s worst mining disaster claimed 301 lives, a spokesman said yesterday.

A total of five officials from mining company Soma Komur have now been charged with manslaughter, news agency Dogan reported, with more due before prosecutors today.

Meanwhile, the government said it would outline improved controls on mining safety this week, focusing on improved coordination between supervising agencies, according to a spokesman quoted in the daily Sabah newspaper. Ankara may also ratify the International Labour Organisation’s convention on mining health and safety, the paper added.

According to the ILO, Turkey had the highest number of work deaths in Europe in 2012, and the third highest in the world. From 2002 to 2012, more than 1,000 Turkish miners have been killed.

Since last Tuesday’s explosion at the Soma mine, the government and mining officials have been accused of negligence, sparking protests in several towns and cities. A total of 25 mining officials were detained for questioning by the police on Sunday under orders from investigators.