fbpx
Skip to content

Barlow expresses solidarity with Turkish miners


Photo: Thousands rallied in Istanbul yesterday to protest mine safety in Turkey. Photo by G ndem El i/ Demotix/ Corbis.

Photo: Thousands rallied in Istanbul yesterday to protest mine safety in Turkey. Photo by G ndem El i/ Demotix/ Corbis.

The death toll at the coal mine in Soma, Turkey now stands at 282 people, with 150 others still missing.

In Istanbul for meetings with global justice activists, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated, “Deep solidarity to Turkish miners dead and trapped.”

The Associated Press reports, “Protests broke out in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities over the deaths and poor safety conditions at mines around the country. Turk-Is, 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.”

The news report notes, “Turkey’s Labor and Social Security Ministry said the mine had been inspected five times since 2012, most recently in March, when no safety violations were detected. But the country’s main opposition party said [Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip] 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.” Erdogan had commented earlier that mining accidents were “ordinary things” that also happen in other countries.

The Globe and Mail adds, “Furious residents heckled Erdogan and jostled his entourage on Wednesday as he toured the town, angry at what they see as the government’s cosiness with mining tycoons, its failure to ensure safety and a lack of information on the rescue effort. …Several thousand people staged a sit-down protest in front of police water cannon in Istanbul, holding banners with slogans including ‘It is not accident, It is not fate, it is murder’ and ‘Our hearts are burning in Soma’.”

The International Labour Organisation ranks Turkey as the world’s third worst offender on industrial safety standards. Barlow has shared an article that notes the IndustriALL Global Union says that more than 3,000 miners have been killed in Turkey over the past 73 years.