Parliamentary report on Soma mine accident censored, CHP deputy claims

Parliamentary report on Soma mine accident censored, CHP deputy claims

Parliamentary report on Soma mine accident censored, CHP deputy claims A parliamentary commission’s long-anticipated report on Turkey’s biggest-ever mine disaster in the Aegean district of Soma has been censored, according to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel.

Özer claimed that some critical parts of the Soma mine workers’ testimonies were removed from the report prepared by a parliamentary commission that was established to find the reasons for the disaster and prevent similar accidents. The disaster killed 301 miners on May 13.

CHP Manisa Deputy Özel is among the 17 members of the parliamentary commission. He said the CHP deputies in the commission would lodge a statement of opposition in the meeting on Nov. 18 if the deficiencies of the report were not rectified.

“Many workers’ testimonies which are fundamental to the report are not present in it. We do not expect to see all miners’ testimonies there. But the main problem in the Soma [mine] can be summarized as the relations between the firms and politicians. The testimonies which shows this is censored in the report. They tried to censor such a critical issue from the Parliament’s agenda,” said Özel in an interview with daily Hürriyet.

More than 20 miners in the disaster-hit mine in Soma are of the same mind on the issue, said Özel, adding that this was about ties between politicians and firm owners.

Özel said the ties between politicians and firm owners could be seen as problematic when one considered that there were claims that the firm owners were informed about the date of inspections beforehand.

“In their testimonies on June 9 and 10, the workers said they were forced to attend the ruling party’s rallies in the city. Those who do not support the ruling party said they felt pressure to attend the rallies of the ruling party out of fears of losing their jobs if they refused to do so,” said Özel, adding that these testimonies were absent in the report.

“The miners who attend the [ruling Justice and Development Party - AKP] rally are paid for the day and they are also paid for the fuel of their cars if they bring four people to the rally, according to the testimonies,” said Özel.

The wife of the mine firm’s manager, Ramazan Doğru, was elected to the Soma and Manisa municipal councils for the AKP, while the minister and ruling party deputies often visited the mine before the accident. These are clear statements which show the organic link between the firm and the government, Özel added.