Turkish Press Review

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Turkish dailies on Thursday cover lack of functioning gas masks in Soma mining disaster, Turkish PM Erdogan’s planned visit to Cologne, and a gas deal between Russia and China.

Turkish dailies on Thursday cover lack of functioning gas masks in Soma mining disaster, Turkish PM Erdogan’s planned visit to Cologne, and a gas deal between Russia and China.

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

On Thursday, most Turkish dailies reported that the lack of proper gas masks partially explains the Soma mining disaster, due to which 301 people died in the deadliest mine disaster in Turkish history. 

"Death mask" ran the headline in daily RADIKAL, saying the gas masks available in Soma were produced in 1993 in China and were no longer functional.  

RADIKAL quoted a miner, Baris Kilic, in Soma who said none of the miners had been trained to use a gas mask properly. 

VATAN daily ran the headline "Death mask," claiming that the gas masks used in Soma expired in 1998, 16 years ago, and emphasizing that maintenance checks on the masks were not carried out. The miners’ gas masks were supposed to work for 45 minutes, however the miners said they worked for 10 minutes. 

The STAR daily pointed to the government efforts to improve mining safety under the headline, "High technology, tight control." The paper said mining law will be reviewed, and based on the techniques used in developed countries to prevent deaths. 

Some Turkish dailies covered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned visit to Cologne, which sparked debate among rival groups and politicians in Germany.

YENI SAFAK daily reported that thousands of Turkish immigrants are eagerly awaiting Erdogan’s visit and his address, and that some leading Turkish non-governmental organizations in Germany are reacting to the news critical of Turkey appearing in the German press. "Turkey and Germany are significant partners; Erdogan will be welcomed," the daily quoted Veli Karakaya, President of The Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association in Berlin. While many Turkish immigrants are eagerly waiting for Erdogan’s visit, several politicians, parties and groups are calling for them to be cancelled, saying that this could lead to new divisions and tensions among immigrants in Germany.

AKSAM daily ran a headline "Black propaganda originated in Turkey," claiming that articles critical of Erdogan in the German press prior to the PM's Cologne visit are shaped and guided from Turkey. The paper said some experts believe that there is an 'exaggerated reaction' in Germany to Erdogan's visit. "The reason behind this black propaganda is to make sure that Erdogan is overthrown," the daily quoted Turkish professor Sedat Laciner as saying. 

A gas deal between Russia and China is another issue which was covered on Thursday by some dailies; the deal is said to be worth $400 billion over 30 years. 

Russia will invest $55 billion and China $20 billion in order to realize their $400 billion gas supply contract, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

"Historic contract worth $400 billion" was the headline with which daily HURRIYET covered the issue, saying Russia signed a deal with China which will swing the geopolitical balance, at a time when there are growing tensions between Russia and Europe, which the paper described as "the biggest purchaser of Russian gas." Nearly 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas are expected to be exported to China annually, the paper said. 

Daily MILLIYET said China will pay $350 to Russia for 1000 cubic meters of natural gas, while Turkey pays $400 to Russia for the same amount of gas. The deal will start in 2018, the daily said. 

Some Turkish dailies also covered former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi doing community service in a retirement home. 

Berlusconi, who was convicted last year of tax fraud and given a four-year sentence, started doing community service on May 9 at a retirement home.

Daily STAR said Berlusconi carried out his duties wearing his white uniform and that he will assist the elderly at the Sacred Family Foundation in Milan for 10 months. 

The 77-year old former PM must visit the center at least once a week for at least four hours.

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