Turkey rejects aid offers for rescue of miners in Soma

Turkey rejects aid offers for rescue of miners in Soma

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey rejects aid offers for rescue of miners in Soma

The mining accident on May 14 could be the worst mining disaster in Turkey's history, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said. REUTERS Photo

Turkey’s disaster agency, AFAD, rejected the aid offers from several countries around the world on the ground that no help is needed.

Many countries including Israel, Greece, Germany, France, the United States, Poland, Israel, Iran, and the European Union, offered Turkey assitance with the search.

Israel has offered Turkey assistance with the search and rescue efforts after the mine disaster in the town of Soma in western Turkey, an official from the Israeli embassy told the Hürriyet Daily News on May 14.

“We offer any assistance that Turkey might need,” the official said.

The offer has been conveyed by the Israeli embassy in Ankara to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, while the Turkish government has not responded yet.

Turkey and Israel are very close to normalizing bilateral relations after ties were strained by the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when an Israeli raid killed nine Turks. Israel officially apologized to Turkey in March 2013 for the raid, but the normalization process has not been completed yet.

The Israeli Embassy in Ankara has cancelled its national reception day scheduled for May 14 due to the coal mine disaster in Soma.

“The state and people of Israel share the grief of the Turkish people, give condolences to the families of the deceased, and wish a speedy recovery for the wounded and hope for positive news from the ones still in the mine,” said a written statement from the embassy.

Israel had also offered to help in dealing with a devastating earthquake in Turkey in 2011, and the Turkish government requested the transfer of mobile homes to the disaster-stricken area in Van.

At least 282 coal miners were killed and hundreds were trapped in a mine in the western province of Manisa’s Soma district on May 13 after a fire broke out following an explosion in a power distribution unit. Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has expressed concerns that the death toll could rise, as over 300 hundred workers could still be trapped inside.