Relatives visit graves of killed miners in Soma on fourth anniversary of tragedy
Relatives of the 301 miners who lost their lives in Turkey’s deadliest ever mine disaster in the Soma district of the western province of Manisa on May 13, 2014 visited the graves of the slain workers on the fourth anniversary of the disaster.
The relatives of the victims gathered at the martyrs’ cemetery on the morning of May 13.
Despite the announcement that there would be an official ceremony, relatives rushed to the cemetery early in the morning to visit the graves of their loved ones.
The graves at the cemetery were decorated with Turkish flags and torches symbolizing the 301 miners killed in the disaster.
Deep pain of mothers
The anniversary of the accident, which this year coincided with Mothers’ Day, was particularly hard for the mothers of those miners who died in the mine.
“He used to come to me on Mothers’ Day. Now I visit him at his grave. He was supposed to celebrate my Mothers’ Day. But I am here to commemorate the anniversary of his death instead. My life has been ruined,” said Menekşe Arıkan, whose son Veysel Arıkan was among those killed in the accident.
“We have been in pain and agony for the past four years. These have been very difficult years. Each day we visit my son’s grave and cry,” Gülten Doğan, the mother of victim Halil İbrahim Doğan.
“First we said it was God’s will and accepted what happened. Now only a few people are trying to help us seek justice for what happened,” said Ali Şuri Doğan, the father of Halil İbrahim.
A total of 301 mine workers were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on May 13, 2014 after an explosion at the Soma Coal Mine Company’s mine.
More than 700 miners were inside the mine when a fire erupted during a shift change.
The accident sent shockwaves through Turkey, drawing delayed attention to the lack of job security and sparking outcry against companies making millions of dollars in profits without investing in the safety of their workers.
A prosecutor demanded the arrest of Soma Holding’s chairman Alp Gürkan on March 26 over the 2014 disaster. But the court declined this demand.
The next court hearing is scheduled for June 19.
Fifty-one suspects are accused of failing to provide adequate safety measures leading to Turkey’s worst ever industrial disaster.
A total of 301 jail terms of up to 25 years are being sought for each suspect in the case.