Parliamentary panel begins probing Soma mine disaster

Parliamentary panel begins probing Soma mine disaster

Parliamentary panel begins probing Soma mine disaster

The commission visited on June 9 the Soma coal mine, which has been closed after the incident that killed 301 workers. AA Photo

The parliamentary panel tasked to investigate the fatal mine accident in Soma began its work June 9 with the purpose of submitting a report to Parliament for future legal amendments on labor safety to prevent similar accidents. The May 13 Soma coal mining tragedy was the largest industrial disaster in the country’s recent history, causing the deaths of 301 workers.

The first area the 17-member parliamentary commission visited was the cemetery in which most of the victims have been laid to rest. The commission then began visiting the families of the victims. “We are going to hold talks in Soma for two days,” Ali Rıza Alaboyun, head of the commission told the press early June 9.

The commission visited the houses of some of the victims’ families and listened to their needs and views. Havva Sevinç, mother of three children and the wife of deceased worker Celal Sevinç, called on the commission for the prosecution of those responsible for the accident. Sevinç also talked on the money allocated to her family by the state, explaining that the monthly 600 Turkish Liras was too little to survive for her family. She also requested the state provide better housing for her family. The commission continued their program by visiting more of the victims’ families to have a better view of their life conditions.  

Alaboyun recalled that coal mining was one of the hardest jobs to perform and said the United States passed a specific law to regulate work in coal mines after an accident in 1968 and the government might consider having a similar law solely dealing with coal mining.

“We are listening to everybody and we are paying attention to what has been said. We’ll exert every effort to avoid similar accidents in the future,” he said. The objective of the commission is to produce solutions for the issue, adding, “We have to find a comprehensive solution to this problem. The U.S., Europe and Australia resolved it 30 years ago. We too had some regulations, but we were late in finding a solution.”

Alaboyun said they will wait until the reopening of Soma mine before concluding the report.