Officials refuse permission for Soma mine disaster commemoration rally
İsmail Saymaz – MANİSAThe authorities have refused to grant permission for the annual commemoration of those killed in Turkey’s deadliest ever mine disaster in the Soma district of the western province of Manisa, which occurred in May 2014.
District Governor Ahmet Altıntaş rejected the application for the commemoration, saying a separate event will be held elsewhere and “there is no need for two commemorations.”
A total 301 mine workers were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on May 13, 2014, after an explosion at the Soma Coal Mine Company’s mine in the western province of Manisa. Some 708 miners were inside the mine when a fire erupted during a shift change.
Commemorations were held on Cengiz Topel Square in 2015 and 2016 with the participation of unions, the families of the workers killed, and local associations.
A third commemoration was planned by the Social Rights Association (SHD) and the families of those killed but it was also prevented by the authorities.
In its rejection, the district governor’s office stated that Cengiz Topel Square is not among the permitted areas for a commemoration, adding that a ceremony will instead be held on May 13 by the Manisa Governor’s Office, the Soma Municipality, and relatives of those killed.
Speaking about the authorities’ refusal to give permission, SHD General Secretary Can Atalay said a rally where the families will voice their demands “cannot be prevented.”
“A rally where the families will voice their demands can’t be prevented simply in order for state officials to hold their own commemoration,” Atalay said.