15 May 2014
I am writing to ask for your support for the coal miners who recently lost their lives in Soma, Turkey. I urge you to read this email and send the attached statement to Turkish Government Officials stated at the bottom of this email.
At least 245 coal miners have lost their lives in the western town of Soma, Turkey, after an explosion caused a pit to collapse. Dozens of miners have injured, 4 of which are in critical condition. Hundreds are still trapped underground, 2km below the surface and 4km from the mine entrance. Soma Kömürleri AŞ privately owns the mine.
The explosion occurred during a shift change, therefore it is still unclear as to exactly how many people are still underground in the mine. It is said that during the shift change there were 787 workers, this means that there is still 220 miners still unaccounted for!
Morgues in the nearby hospitals have filled up. The dead bodies are now being stored in the cold air storages of butchers.
Two-faced government, greedy capitalists and their media exponents!
The declaration of three days mourning; cancellation of the Prime Minister’s travel plans; messages of condolences; the presence of a minister at the scene; these are all crocodile tears and attempts to hide the reality! The people have not forgotten that it was Prime Minister Erdogan who cried out “death is the destiny of coal miners” after a murder incident that took place in the mines a short while ago.
The “research and investigation commission” of mining risks proposed by the opposition parties CHP, MHP and BDP’s members of parliament was rejected by the AKP government just 20 days ago. Motions forwarded by the HDP Istanbul MP Levent Tuzel in relation to the coal mining industry were brushed aside with excuses such as “the relevant ministers are carrying out constant inspections”. The coalmine where the latest murder occurred was recently privatized when an opening ceremony was attended by the Energy and Natural Resources and Social Security Minister Taner Yildiz, who declared the coalmine as the “safest coalmine in Europe”, clearly expresses the two-faces of the government.
The recent statement made by directors of the company that owns the mine, which bragged on about reducing expenses by around 60%, also has not been forgotten. Reducing the workforce, compulsory redundancies of experienced workers, subcontracting inexperienced workers, these are just some of the tactics of the greedy bosses in pursuit for higher profit margins, which prepared the conditions for this mass murder. One of the workers who died was only 15 years old; this clearly expresses the extent of the exploitation that is taking place. If the bosses are still claiming that this was a “painful accident”, despite all that has occurred, this shows that they are ready to commit more murders of workers, all in the name of higher profit!
The media exponents of the bosses and government speak of high standards of safety within the mines and also refer to the incident as a “painful accident” in their headlines. Furthermore, the value given to workers is clearly expressed in the words of an “expert” of Soma coalmines, Professor Dr. Orhan Kural, who said on a TV channel that “Dying from carbon monoxide is sweet; they would feel no pain. I wish myself a painless death too”.
Let’s protest against the AKP government!
We the members of SPOT, Solidarity with People of Turkey, would like to express our condolences and deep sorrow for the working class, for those who died tragically and their families. We vow to expose the faces of those who are responsible for this tragedy, namely the government and the bosses who are more concerned with profit making than the welfare of the workers. We will not let all these deaths in the work place go unnoticed. In the 12 year period of the AKP rule, more than 14,000 work related deaths have occurred. We will not ever forget them.
We call all communities, democratic organisations and trade unions to voice their concerns on this matter and to join us in protesting both the AKP government and those who value profit and capital more than the worker.
As listed below, you can send the attached statement of protests to the government officials in Turkey. We kindly ask that you also bcc firstname.lastname@example.org with your email of protests.
Mr Abdullah Gül
Turkish Republic Prime Minister:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,
Turkish Republic Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Mr. Taner Yıldız
Should you need further information regarding this matter please do not hesitate in contacting SPOT via this e-mail or below details.
Thank you in advance for your support.
SPOT (Solidarity with People of Turkey)
07961 708 014