Coal mining disaster in Turkey prompts new law

Turkish Army soldiers patrol at the site of a coal mine in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 19, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Turkish Army soldiers patrol at the site of a coal mine in Soma, a district in Turkey’s western province of Manisa May 19, 2014.
Credit: Reuters

Turkey needs a new coal mining law to prevent a repeat of its worst ever industrial disaster in which 301 workers were killed, the head of a commission investigating the incident said on Tuesday.

The miners were killed last month in a mine fire in Soma, a small town 480 km (300 miles) southwest of Istanbul, fuelling anger in a nation which has long had one of the world’s worst workplace safety records.

The disaster highlighted gaps in Turkish regulation, not least the lack of specific rules for the coal industry, as well as insufficiently stringent inspections, local mining experts told Reuters after of the fire.

Ali Riza Alaboyun, a deputy from the ruling AK Party who heads the parliamentary commission investigating the accident, said the highly-complex nature of coal mines required a separate set of regulations.

“By doing this, we will be able to regulate inspections and training related to coal mines separately,” Alaboyun told reporters during a visit to Soma.

Eight suspects including the chief executive of Soma Mining, which operates the facility, have been provisionally charged with “causing multiple deaths by negligence”. The company has denied any negligence on its part.

Turkey uses most of its coal for power production, and has ramped up efforts to increase domestic coal output to reduce reliance on imported natural gas.

The government has repeatedly said that its mining guidelines are in line with those of the European Union.

The EU law in question, a 1992 directive covering underground mineral-extracting industries, is a 20-page document which contains basic requirements and broad principles that individual EU countries then use to set detailed regulations and guidelines.

The disaster prompted small-scale protests around Turkey, directed at mine operators accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

Erdogan vowed to pursue those responsible for the disaster.

An initial report on the possible causes of the accident, cited by prosecutors, indicated that the fire may have been triggered by coal heating up after making contact with the air, sending deadly carbon monoxide through the mine.

Bahtiyar Unver, a mining professor at Hacettepe University and consultant to the parliament commission, said investigations inside the mine would be key to establishing the exact cause.

“Fires do not occur suddenly, it must have given a signal. This is an accident … that should not have happened,” he said.

The commission has up to four months to complete its work.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.