No ministerial permit for probing Ermenek mine supervisors: Court

No ministerial permit for probing Ermenek mine supervisors: Court

ERMENEK – Doğan News Agency
No ministerial permit for probing Ermenek mine supervisors: Court

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Turkey’s Labor and Social Security Ministry has not allowed its supervisors to be investigated, a local court has ruled in the case into the deadly mine disaster in the Central Anatolian town of Ermenek, which killed 18 miners on Oct. 28, 2014. 

The Labor Ministry has not issued permits for the investigation of its supervisors who inspected the mine site in Ermenek before the deadly incident, an Ermenek Court for Serious Crimes judge said on Sept. 30 in the fourth court hearing in the case. in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman.

Previously, the Energy Ministry also did not allow its supervisors to be investigated in the same case, raising questions about the two ministries’ inspectors’ roles ahead of the deadly accident.

Among those who appeared in the fourth court hearing of the case as defendants were Has Şekerler Mining Company owner Saffet Uyar, Ermenek Cenne Lignite Coal Company manager and shareholder Abdullah Özbey, its technical mining supervisor Ali Kurt, as well as senior officials from the companies who ran the mining activities in Ermenek at the time of the deadly accident.

The next court hearing in the case will be held in late November, with the trial of the defendants ongoing.

The first court hearing was held on June 15 and lasted for three days. Although the court issued an arrest warrant for Has Şekerler Mining Company’s permanent mining supervisor Yavuz Özsoy, he has not yet been arrested.

The deadly Ermenek mine disaster sent shockwaves through Turkey in October 2014, as 18 miners were killed after being trapped underground in flood water that burst out following an explosion at the mine site.

According to the expert report released on Nov. 26, 2014, the Energy Ministry’s General Directorate of Mining, along with two companies that operated the Ermenek mine, were responsible for the accident after reopening the mine prematurely following an inspection in August 2014.