Opposition seeks to resolve controversies after Soma disaster

Opposition seeks to resolve controversies after Soma disaster

Opposition seeks to resolve controversies after Soma disaster

CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran. DHA Photo

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have turned to Parliament to resolve controversies that have followed the Soma mine disaster.

Questions have arisen over the reported use of violence by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against a mourner in the aftermath of the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.

CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran, a deputy for Istanbul, filed a motion on May 16, in which he listed various questions addressed to Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik.

“Why did you change the criteria for allowing child workers to be employed in hard labor? Why are Refuge Chambers not obligatory in Turkey? Why hasn’t the ILO [International Labor Organization] Convention 176 [on Safety and Health in Mines] been signed for 19 years? Why did the deputy head of the SGK [Social Security Institution] immediately make a statement on ‘work related accidents’ without even having any examinations?” Oran asked.

He also questioned whether the Labor Ministry would be able to conduct an “impartial investigation,” given the fact that the coal mine in the western Anatolian province of Manisa was opened by Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

Footage of Prime Minister Erdoğan apparently slapping a man, as residents jeered and jostled his entourage when he visited the scene of the disaster on May 14, only a day after the accident, was also brought onto the agenda at Parliament.

HDP Mardin Deputy Gülser Yıldırım’s related motion filed on May 16 was directly addressed to Erdoğan, mainly asking for his justification for such behavior.

“Why do you feel obliged to respond individually and violently to peaceful and non-violent protests aimed at you? Do you believe that forcefully using your title of prime minister and all of the opportunities provided by this office to you against a citizen in order to neutralize reactions of our grieving citizens in Soma against you can be complied with the rights and responsibilities of a prime minister, defined in the Constitution and laws?” Yıldırım asked.