Soma miners fear losing jobs, hesitate to testify: Bar

Soma miners fear losing jobs, hesitate to testify: Bar

MANİSA – Doğan News Agency
Soma miners fear losing jobs, hesitate to testify: Bar

People mourn at the graves for miners who died in Tuesday's mine disaster, at a cemetery in Soma May 19. REUTERS Photo / Osman Orsal

The residents of Soma, the western Anatolian town hit by a large mining disaster on May 13, fear testifying about what happened, as their income is dependent on the sector, the head of the Manisa Bar has said.

“The Soma people fear potential consequences; they do not speak out,” said Zeynel Balkız in an interview broadcasted on CNN Türk on May 19.

“’You will leave here one day and then what will happen to us?’ they ask,” the lawyer said, highlighting the lack of job security.

Some 9,000 out of 10,000 miners in the town have debts to pay and the citizens hesitate to cooperate despite the lawful support the bar is offering, he said.

The rights of the unofficial wives of the fallen miners were another problematic issue raised by the bar chief.

Religious marriage is not a rare choice in Turkey and as such, some unions are not followed by official wedlock. Balkız said unofficial wives still had official compensation and insurance rights.

The bar has planned lawful support, offering financial help for the lawsuit expenses and heir’s fees for those in need, Balkız also said.

The mine disaster in the town of Soma in the province of Manisa claimed 301 lives, raising controversy about work safety all across the country.