Source: Ozgur Ozel, New York Times, May 20, 2014
On the morning of May 13, Turkey finally woke up from its deep slumber on workplace safety — but at the cost of 301 lives. The subterranean fire last week at the Soma coal mine in western Turkey was the worst mining disaster in the country’s history. Hundreds of hardworking men in the district I represent are dead. And sadly, their deaths could have been prevented. As early as last September, I had petitioned the Turkish Parliament to create a commission of inquiry, which is one way that the legislature can use its powers to oversee industry in Turkey. Ever since the Soma mine was privatized in 2005, the price of extracting coal has gone down dramatically — and so have safety conditions for workers….
Don’t Call Turkey Mine Disaster an Accident—Privatization Made it Inevitable
Source: Erinç Yeldan, Epoch Times, May 18, 2014
…. This isn’t simply misfortune: what lies behind these tragic events is the unregulated and poorly supervised attempts of a corrupt ruling government to enact hasty privatizations and force people into more informal work. The Soma mine itself was privatised in 2005. In the heyday of an anti-public sector campaign, the new owners of the plant had proudly declared that production costs had declined from around US$120-130 per tonne under public ownership to just US$23.8 per tonne.
Low-Cost Mass Graves for the Working Class: Miners Massacre in Turkey
Source: Eren Buğlalılar, Socialist Project, The Bullet, E-Bulletin No. 984, May 16, 2014
A mine explosion has just claimed the lives, as of the latest count, of almost 300 workers in Turkey. This event added another link to the long chain of massacres that has taken place during the rule of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) government. Leaving hundreds of workers dead and injured, the massacre has brought grief to the rest of the population, whose sharp anger was already directed toward the government.
The explosion took place in a mining site located in Soma town of Manisa, a city in western Turkey. Formerly a national, state-owned property, the mines were privatized in 2005 by the DG of Turkish Coa, with the operating rights of the mines transferred into a company called Soma Coal. …
….The AKP government swept off the last obstacles in front of the companies by amending the regulation further in June 2010, and opened the entire country to the corporate sector through a massive project of privatization. Thus between 2005 and 2010 approximately 45,000 mining licences have been distributed across the country.
In 2004, the AKP amended the Mining Law and introduced the new method of privatizing the mines without privatization. The “royalty” and “royalty tender” methods became a means to transfer the already existing but still state-owned mining sites to the private sector. In these cases, the state kept the property rights of the mines while the operating rights of the mines were tendered to the corporations…..