World reacts to Turkey coal mine tragedy
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
ANKARA – World leaders have extended their condolences over Tuesday's coal mine disaster in western Turkey that has claimed at least 245 lives.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to express his country's deepest condolences and sympathies to those affected by the tragedy in Soma.
UK's Foreign Secretary William Hague and Minister of Europe David Lidington also extended their condolences via Twitter.
"Sending my sympathy and condolences to the people of Turkey – terrible loss of life in mining disaster. My thoughts with everyone affected," Hague said.
Hague added in a statement: “The UK stands ready to support Turkey should assistance be required, and I shall discuss this with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu at tomorrow’s [Thursday's] London meeting on Syria.”
The UK Minister of Europe, David Lidington tweeted, “Shocked by news of mining disaster in Turkey. Deepest sympathy to bereaved families & people injured.”
On the other hand, German President Joachim Gauck sent a condolence letter to Turkey's President Abdullah Gul. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed sympathies following the disaster.
"I am deeply shaken by the news of the devastating mining accident in western Turkey, which has claimed a huge number of lives," Merkel said.
Turkey has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the fire, during which flags will fly at half-mast and parliament will be closed.
The explosion and fire at the mine in the district of Soma in Manisa province is believed to have followed an electrical fault which occurred on Tuesday afternoon.
French President Francois Hollande expressed his condolences to the Turkish people over the mass death toll of coal mine blast in Soma.
The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte also offered their sympathies for those who lost their lives.
Mines and stone quarries appear as some of the most dangerous places for Turkish workers, according to government statistics.
More than 3,000 people have died and more than 100,000 have been injured in mining accidents since 1941 in Turkey, figures from Turkey's statistics agency show.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also expressed deep grief and condolences over the deaths of more than 200 people in the mine blast.
In his message to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sharif said, "Pakistanis feel the pain of bereaved families in their hearts. The Pakistani government and the nation stand alongside their Turkish brothers at this trying time. We pray to Almighty Allah to rest the souls of the departed in eternal peace, and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss with patience and fortitude."
Elsewhere, Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk expressed condolences to the families of victims in Soma.
Yatsenyuk issued a written statement on behalf of the Ukrainian government and offered sincere condolences to the families.
"I was deeply shocked to learn of the scale of the deaths and injuries caused by the terrible explosion at a coal mine in Western Turkey," said President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso following the explosion.
Arab leaders including Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Sani, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa have also sent their condolences to the families affected by the tragedy.
More than 10 percent of work-related accidents in 2013 happened in the mining sector.
The deadliest mining incident in world history took place in Benxi in Liaoning province, China, on April 26, 1942, when 1,549 people died.
Aamir Latif in Islamabad contributed to this story.
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