Turkish energy minister 'considering resigning' after deadly mining accident

Turkish energy minister 'considering resigning' after deadly mining accident

Turkish energy minister considering resigning after deadly mining accident

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Turkey’s energy and natural resources minister has given some heed to insistent calls by opposition lawmakers to resign from his post in the aftermath of several deadly accidents at coal mines, refusing to rule out the possibility.

However, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu contended with saying “discretionary power” regarding the steps to be taken was his. What Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said was merely a response in political ethics, he added.

“Calling for a resignation is a reasonable demand for an opposition party. Don’t suppose that I haven’t considered doing this. I have lived with my principles and I conveyed this to the Cabinet at the time of [the May 13] Soma incident,” Yıldız told opposition lawmakers late on Nov. 13.

His remarks came during debates over his ministry’s budget as part of ongoing deliberations on the 2015 Central Governance Budget Law at Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission.

Yıldız disclosed that he had already requested to be removed from his post in the past, around two weeks after the latest deadly mining accident on Oct. 28, which left 18 miners trapped in a mine in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman’s Ermenek district after water flooded into their shaft from a neighboring disused mine. Two bodies have been recovered and there is now no hope of finding any of the missing 16 workers alive.

That disaster laid bare Turkey’s continued shortcomings on workplace safety, even after its worst ever industrial accident when 301 workers were killed in the Soma mine disaster in May.

“I will once more share with my prime minister [Davutoğlu] the [resignation] advice of my 13 fellows from the opposition party. Those who get to know me are aware that resignation is the easy way,” Yıldız said, indicating that he was not looking to hold onto his post, but was trying to fulfill the requirements of his post.

When the Soma disaster took place, now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was holding the Prime Ministry post, which he handed over to then-Foreign Minister Davutoğlu in late August.
Neither the resignation of ministers, nor their performance is the opposition parties’ issue, Davutoğlu told reporters in Australia.

“As prime minister now and previously as his colleague in the Cabinet, it’s I who has knowledge about what Yıldız has done during his tenure as energy minister.

The prime minister stressed that Turkey had made huge moves in energy politics in the recent years and in many international forums, the country has been considered as key player in energy.
No one but the prime minister could assess who as responsible for the negligence in the Ermenek mine accident, Davutoğlu said.