Negligence over Soma mine accident to be punished

Judgments will be carried out against those responsible for negligence over the Soma mine disaster, says justice minister

Judgments will be carried out against those responsible for negligence over the Soma mine disaster, says justice minister

ANKARA – With eight arrests being made over the Soma mine disaster, Turkey’s Justice Minister says that ‘’those who are negligent and at fault will receive punishment prescribed by law.’’

"Judgment will be made against those who are negligent and at fault in the mining disaster or any other disaster," Bekir Bozdag said on Tuesday during a speech at the parliament in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Bozdag reassured that a legal investigation is underway, detentions are being made and inspections by experts are being carried out.

The owner of the mine, Alp Gurkan along with his son and the CEO of the company, Can Gurkan, and the general manager, Ramazan Dogru, were arrested on Monday.

Two security chiefs were also arrested after the Operating Manager of Soma Coal Mining Company Akin Celik, engineers Yalcin Erdogan and Ertan Ersoy, and security chief Yasin Kurnaz were taken into custody on Sunday following a court hearing. 

After evidence has been gathered and the examination is complete, an indictment and trial will take place, Bozdag said.

The Soma mine accident, in which 301 people died, is the deadliest in Turkey’s history, surpassing an explosion in Zonguldak in 1992 which killed 263 miners. 

Legal work is also being carried out to define the term 'martyrdom' in Turkish law, according to the country’s Minister of Family and Social Policies, Aysenur Islam.

With the intention of declaring those who lost their lives as martyrs, Islam told reporters in the parliament on Tuesday that there is no legal definition of 'martyrdom'. Regulations will now be put in place with the help from current words and terms in the law.

Mines and stone quarries appear as some of the most dangerous places to work in Turkey, according to government statistics.

Since 1941, more than 3,000 people have died in Turkey and more than 100,000 have been injured in mining accidents, figures from Turkey's statistics agency show.

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