News / Europe

Commission Head: Turkey Needs New Coal Mining Law

General view of a coal mine site where a fire broke out on Tuesday in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa, May 18, 2014.
General view of a coal mine site where a fire broke out on Tuesday in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa, May 18, 2014.
Reuters
Turkey needs a new coal mining law to prevent a repeat of its worst ever industrial disaster in which 301 workers were killed, the head of a commission investigating the incident said on Tuesday.
 
The miners were killed last month in a mine fire in Soma, a small town 480 km (300 miles) southwest of Istanbul, fueling anger in a nation which has long had one of the world's worst workplace safety records.
 
The disaster highlighted gaps in Turkish regulation, not least the lack of specific rules for the coal industry, as well as insufficiently stringent inspections, local mining experts told Reuters after the fire.
 
Ali Riza Alaboyun, a deputy from the ruling AK Party who heads the parliamentary commission investigating the accident, said the highly-complex nature of coal mines required a separate set of regulations.
 
“By doing this, we will be able to regulate inspections and training related to coal mines separately,” Alaboyun told reporters during a visit to Soma.
 
Eight suspects including the chief executive of Soma Mining, which operates the facility, have been provisionally charged with “causing multiple deaths by negligence”. The company has denied any negligence on its part.
 
Turkey uses most of its coal for power production, and has ramped up efforts to increase domestic coal output to reduce reliance on imported natural gas.
 
The government has repeatedly said that its mining guidelines are in line with those of the European Union.
 
The EU law in question, a 1992 directive covering underground mineral-extracting industries, is a 20-page document which contains basic requirements and broad principles that individual EU countries then use to set detailed regulations and guidelines.
 
The disaster prompted small-scale protests around Turkey, directed at mine operators accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.
 
Erdogan vowed to pursue those responsible for the disaster.
 
An initial report on the possible causes of the accident, cited by prosecutors, indicated that the fire may have been triggered by coal heating up after making contact with the air, sending deadly carbon monoxide through the mine.
 
Bahtiyar Unver, a mining professor at Hacettepe University and consultant to the parliament commission, said investigations inside the mine would be key to establishing the exact cause.
 
“Fires do not occur suddenly, it must have given a signal. This is an accident ... that should not have happened,” he said.
 
The commission has up to four months to complete its work.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More