Turkish miner, kicked by Erdoğan’s aide, ordered to pay fine
ISTANBULA Turkish miner who was photographed being kicked by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s adviser during a demonstration in disaster-struck Soma last year has been fined for kicking a car in Erdoğan’s convoy, as a fire at a mine in the district just two days after the first anniversary of the accident has again brought attention to the region.
Speaking to private broadcaster FOX, Derya Kocabıyık, the wife of Erdal Kocabıyık, said her husband was fined for 548 liras for kicking the official car belonging to Erdoğan’s convoy.
“Rather than a fine being given to the aide, we have been fined 500 liras on the grounds of a kick. In other words, [my husband] was kicked and to make matters worse he was then fined,” she said, adding that they struggle to even pay their rent.
Erdoğan’s adviser Yusuf Yerkel caused outrage after kicking Kocabıyık as the latter was held down by special forces, amid a protest during Erdoğan’s tense visit to Soma two days after the disaster. Footage of the notorious kick quickly went viral, stoking further anger against the government’s response to the disaster.
Yerkel obtained a medical report allowing him to miss work for seven days due to injuries sustained to his leg in the process of kicking the mourner. However, he returned to work within days and still remains part of Erdoğan’s retinue, having faced no procedural or administrative sanction.
Kocabıyık was later dismissed from his job as a miner without compensation and is currently working as a porter.
Meanwhile, a fire broke out in a private mining facility in the disaster-stricken district of Soma on May 15. Fortunately, the fire was under control within an hour.
The fire started around 12:30 p.m. in a one-story building at a coal mining area belonging to the İmbat Mining Company, located in the Eynez region of Soma. The building was being used as both a storage space for miner’s helmets, boots, torches, fire extinguishers, masks, as well as a locker and changing room for the mine’s workers.
The fire was suspected to have been ignited by an electrical contact, and it was under control in an hour. While no one was inside the building during the fire, the miners inside the coal mine were evacuated.
The trial into the Soma accident started only a month ago on April 13, during which the suspects in the case denied responsibility for the accident, which precipitated anger among the families of the 301 victims.
Suspects also pointed the finger at one chief engineer, Mehmet Efe, who died in the accident, though his father, Resul Efe, said his son was being made into a “scapegoat.”