Turkey Called Off Rescue Operation at Soma Mine

World Today

Turkey has called off its rescue operation at the Soma mine. Two more bodies were found Saturday, bringing the death toll to 301. All of the bodies of those trapped in the explosion and collapse are now thought to be removed. But angry protesters clashed with police over the Turkish government’s handling of the disaster. CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports from Soma.

Turkey Called Off Rescue Operation at Soma Mine

Turkey Called Off Rescue Operation at Soma Mine

Turkey has called off its rescue operation at the Soma mine. Two more bodies were found Saturday, bringing the death toll to 301. All of the bodies of those trapped in the explosion and collapse are now thought to be removed. But angry protesters clashed with police over the Turkish government's handling of the disaster. CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports from Soma.

Water cannons and tear gas are not common scenes at the town of Soma. But when over 1500 people protested in the town, hit by Turkey’s deadliest mining accident in its history, police intervened.

The angry crowd chanted anti-government slogans. Many were furious that the authorities had not taken any precautionary measures over the years.

At a town where everyone is in mourning — the intervention by police was not expected. It caught people by surprise, and many believe it was unnecessary.

A Turkish protester says: “The intervention was too harsh; people are already in pain here. It could have been resolved with dialogue as it was in the end. Protesters were just showing their reactions by chanting slogans.”

There were many reactions on social media as well. Thousands condemned the government’s attitude with posts on sites such as Facebook and twitter.

However others disagreed. A Soma citizen and a mineworker himself stressed that there was provocation at the protest and the police had reacted accordingly.

He says: “Where I was standing police rightfully intervened. A man with a red shirt insulted then attacked the police. There were provocateurs among us. After they left citizens of Soma got together, we sang the Turkish anthem peacefully, prayed and dispersed.”

The people of Soma, known to be supportive of the ruling Justice and Development Party are expecting accountability from the government. Many here are now anxious to get some results from the investigation already launched by the prosecutor’s office.