You may come across dead miners

You may come across dead miners

Parliamentary bureau chief of daily Hürriyet, Nuray Babacan, is a very experienced journalist who is aware of all the lobbying and all of the corridors of Ankara. She shared on Tuesday, May 20, the background information about the meeting the prime minister held after his May 20 parliamentary group meeting, the Soma-themed one he held with limited staff.

While everybody has focused on the part “Faruk Çelik [the labor minister] is probably about to go … Taner Yıldız [the energy minister] is likely to stay; even if he does not, his shirt will stay,” of the news story, I was stuck at the part quoted from Yıldız.

Yıldız has spoken as such: “The major portion of the current accounts deficit is from energy … Turkey does not have the luxury of closing coal mines. For example, Turkey’s biggest coal reserves are in Afşin Elbistan; we have to excavate all of them.”

I will not indeed say, “My dear minister, don’t you worry about the current account deficit; Reza is on that issue.”

What I was concerned was the mentioning of “Afşin Elbistan.”

First, I remembered the boasting of Ömer Dinçer after the mine accident in Chile, saying, “If it were here, we would have saved the miners in three days.”

Next, I remembered the nine miners that have been lying under the landslide in Afşin Elbistan for three years.

Do you remember what had happened in 2011?

In the Çöllolar open coal production field where coal production was made for the Afşin Elbistan Thermic Power Plant, two accidents happened four days apart. 

In the first accident on Feb. 6, 2011, one person, on Feb. 10, in the second accident, 10 people were trapped under the landslide. Only two bodies were recovered from that landslide. It took 17 months for the public case to be opened and for the indictment to be written.

While Turkey was shedding tears for the disaster in Soma on May 16, 2014, the 10th hearing of the Çöllolar coal basin landslide case was held…

And, it was decided that the 11th hearing would be held on July 11, 2014. Everybody dispersed peacefully…

As for the moment, only two of the families from the nine victims who were never able to come out of the landslide are standing behind their cases. One of the rare news stories pertaining to the case was written by Hamit Kavak and İsmail Kişi from daily Zaman.

It was reported that the father of the 32-year-old victim Tuğran Gökhan, who was trapped under the landslide, Şevki Gökhan said, “We are not able to watch any television news after the disaster in Soma. We are continuously crying and praying. When it is the news hour, we cry constantly. We, after the landslide, were left all alone. Nobody came to ask how we were. We were told to ‘keep quiet’ for a while. We had to keep silent. I hope they also do not suffer a second pain like ours. They have already gone through the first one.”

See, esteemed Energy Minister Yıldız, that is so…  

The current accounts deficit is important and the coal in Afşin Elbistan is the most important…
However, while mining that coal, you may come across these dead miners, the names of whom I will list below. And maybe you will hand over their bodies to their families and, while at it, seek their rights:
Cuma Yıldırım.
Mehmet İpek.
Aydoğan Polat.
Adnan Demir.
Kemal Elmas.
Muhsin Koşan.
Nail Yılmaz.
Nail Tatlı.
Tuğran Gökhan.