Funerals held for Ermenek miners as Turkey’s top cleric urges employers on work safety
Some 10,000 people, including the Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez, attended the funerals. AA PhotoFunerals were held on Nov. 19 for eight miners who died in a mine disaster in the Southern Anatolian town of Ermenek, with Turkey’s top religious official calling on employers to provide work safety for all their workers.
The funerals were held after the identities of the miners were determined through DNA tests, as the bodies were recovered from the mine almost three weeks after the Oct. 28 accident.
Eighteen miners were trapped underground after a flood at a coal mine Karaman’s Ermenek on Oct. 28. A total of 10 miners’ bodies have been recovered from the mine so far, while efforts are continuing to locate the remains of the other eight.
Some 10,000 people, including the Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez, Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan, Karaman Governor Murat Koca, as well as the families of all 18 miners, attended the Nov. 19 funerals.
“I am calling out to all our businessmen, to our employers. Just like failing to give workers what they are owed before their sweat goes cold or stealing the labor that they have put in is a sin, it is also a sin to put their lives at risk by not providing them with work safety in the interests of cutting costs,” said Görmez after leading the funeral prayers.
Şadiye Çoksöyler, who is mourning her husband, also condemned the owners of the mine. “You took my husband. I will hold you to account,” she said.
The eight recovered miners were identified as Hüsnü Çolak, Hüseyin Çolak, Tezcan Gökçe, Uğur İlhan, İsmail Gürses, Bahri Üzer, Mehmet Tokat and Osman Çoksöyler.
28 Soma miners laid off
Meanwhile, 28 workers have been fired at a mine in the western province of Manisa belonging to the Soma Coal Company, which runs the mine where 301 people were killed in Turkey’s largest ever industrial disaster in May.
Buses carrying workers to the mine were halted early on Nov. 19, and the 28 miners were informed that they had been laid off.
Officials from the Aegean branch of the Mine-Work Union said the company fired the workers without any reason, and the union would pursue the workers’ rights.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa lawmaker Sakine Öz said the workers who testified against the mine company had been laid off.
“We can call the company a 'mine gang.' Soma locals and miners are being threatened,” Öz said.