It's not the time to make 'TOMA' rhymes calling for investment in Soma: AKP
AKP spokesman Hüseyin Çelik speaks during a press conference on May 16. AA PhotoThe Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has slammed attempts to “politicize” criticisms in the wake of the Soma coal mine disaster, rejecting demands urging the government to invest more in mines rather than the infamous water cannon trucks (TOMA) as “untimely.”
“They ask why we didn’t invest in Soma like we did in TOMAs. Is this the time to make rhymes?” AKP
spokesman Hüseyin Çelik said during a press conference May 16, adding that buying equipment to suppress protesters was natural.
According to Çelik, most of the criticism targeting the government after the deaths of at least 284 mines in Soma has had an “ideological basis.”
“There should not be political calculations out of such national disaster. Those who make ideological and political calculations from other people’s pain cannot be human,” said Çelik, particularly accusing some groups of kindling protests during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Soma on May 14.
“They have the right to express their reproach to the prime minister. But some people in Turkey who are rather like a protest squad are attempting to gain advantage from such a national pain; those people should know that what they are doing only serves to keep the wound open,” Çelik said.
No legal flaws
Çelik also denied that there were any legal flaws in the safety regulations regarding coal mines.
“We don’t have any problems in terms of regulations, [I’m saying] this after asking the specialist on the question. But if inspections that will be made determine that the company has some flaws, we will make them pay,” Çelik said, arguing that the company also did not know much about the accident.
“There has been talk until today about the explosion of a power distribution unit. It has been revealed that the fire was not the result of such an explosion,” he said.
Echoing Erdoğan, Çelik also underlined that coal mining was one of the professions with the most frequent labor accidents and which involved the most risks.
“What the prime minister says is the following: If you are a sailor, there are high chances that you will be caught in a storm. If you are a soldier, there are chances that you could be shot,” Çelik said, claiming that Erdoğan’s words did not mean he was downplaying the tragedy.
“It is not true to say that the prime minister ignored people’s grief and downplayed mining because he touched on the risks of the profession,” he said.
At least 284 workers have died in the tragedy, but the death toll is likely to rise as officials have said 18 miners are still unaccounted for, although some local sources believe there are many more bodies in the mine.