Socialist Worker

Political crisis follows Turkish mining disaster

by Ron Margulies in Istanbul
Issue No. 2404

Protest after the deaths of the Turkish miners

Protest after the deaths of the Turkish miners (Pic: Carol Williams)

The number of miners still missing after the disaster in Turkey remains unknown. 

So far 302 dead bodies have been recovered. The total number of workers in the mine is said to have been 787.

Five days after the disaster 25 people, including the mine company boss’s son, were taken into custody for questioning, and three company officials were arrested.

The crisis the disaster sparked looks like becoming the final nail in the coffin of an increasingly authoritarian, neoliberal government. It has lurched from one crisis to the next in the past year.

Whatever the exact cause, the fundamental reason for the disaster is clear—privatisation and the ruthless push for profits by a private company. 

The Soma mine was privatised and bought by Soma Holding Co in 2005.

The owner, Alp Gürkan, is close to the government. Anger has been directed straight at prime minister Recep Erdogan and his government.

There have been protests and strikes across Turkey in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the miners and their families. 

Only a year ago, Erdogan and his government were riding high in the polls. But this may well be the beginning of the end for his government.

This is an updated version to

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Tue 20 May 2014, 20:06 BST
Issue No. 2404
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