HDP’s Demirtaş likens Soma mine tragedy to Uludere massacre
The presidential candidate visited the graves of the victims and met with some of their families in his short visit to Soma on July 27. AA PhotoSelahattin Demirtaş, the presidential candidate and co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has likened the Soma mine disaster to the killing of 34 civilians mistaken for terrorists by the Turkish Air Forces in the Şırnak’s Uludere district in 2011.
“The pain of mothers in Roboski [Uludere] and of women in Soma is the same. The solution to both is also the same: We, as laborers, will get rid of this oppression in unity, in solidarity and through protecting each other,” Demirtaş told reporters during a visit to Soma where 301 workers were killed on May 13 in one of Turkey’s most tragic coal mine accidents. The presidential candidate visited the graves of the victims and met with some of their families in his short visit to Soma on July 27.
The Roboski massacre took place on Dec. 28, 2011, when the Turkish army carried out air strikes in the village Ortasu (Roboski in Kurdish), near the Turkish-Iraqi border, killing 34 civilians after allegedly mistaking them for militants belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We can’t greet the Eid al-Fitr with joy. I once again offer my condolences to our people and to the families of the victims over the Soma massacre,” Demirtaş told the media as he visited the tombs of the workers.
“I have said this before: We are talking about 301 laborers, 301 human beings. How would it be if those who were killed were not 301 laborers, 301 poor, but 301 billionaires, 301 of the richest people in Turkey and the world? What would the reactions be?” Demirtaş said, responding to the view by some commentators who claim that the Soma massacre should not be openly discussed.
Workers have always been exploited by the current political system, which is based on money and profit, Demirtaş said.
“Money is more valuable than the life of the worker. It is also more valuable for the state and the government. They don’t care whether it’s one worker [who dies] or 301 workers,” he said.
“The right of the worker, whether to be a member of a trade union or to strike, has always been prevented [by the government] and this is one of several reasons for the Soma tragedy,” Demirtaş said. “This [accident] would not have occurred if the state and people had a real president. Human life is much more valuable than money or coal. In Soma, our human values and dignity were massacred along with the 301 workers [that died].”