Soma Massacre in Turkey: Notes from the Day 3

Capitalism killed hundreds of workers in the mines of Soma. The number of the dead bodies recovered from the dark tunnels reached up to 282.
There is one single agenda for the newspapers, TV channels and in the social media in Turkey today. Interestingly, The Times was ahead of the Turkish press in giving a clearer picture of what happened in the mine. Here is the diagram:

Massacre and Literature: Prime Minister’s Visit

On the second day of the massacre, Prime Minister came to the town to give one of his speeches full of religious references and he called for patience. His speech revolved around a simple idea that the global history of mining was full of disasters:

In England, 204 miners died after a landslide in 1862, 361 miners died in 1866 and 290 miners died after an explosion in 1894,” Erdogan said. “The most deadly mine accident occurred in France in 1906 where 1,099 miners died. More recently, 687 miners died in Japan in 1914. In China, 1,549 miners died after a mixture of gas and coal poisoned them in 1942. Again in China, 684 miners died in 1960. And a mine gas explosion resulted in the death of 458 miners in Japan in 1963. … In the United States, too, which has the most advanced technology, 361 miners died in 1907… There is something called work accident in the literature.

Apparently these historical evidences were not enough for the grieving masses in Soma who didn’t read the literature at all. Because after Erdogan’s speech, he was surrounded by the angry protesters and he took refuge in a supermarket and hid behind the flesh wall of his private security.

He Deserved a Bonus

As it has always been the case, together with “His Excellency” Erdogan, came a large army of personal bodyguards, snipers, police and gendarmarie forces. So when somebody came forward to protest, these men were unleashed.

However, there was somebody among them who attracted the attention of social media users:

This enthusiastic young man was soon identified to be Yusuf Yerkel (nicknamed as in twitter), advisor to the Prime Minister. Spontaneously, people condemned him and launched a twitter campaign to protest.

Possibly the most popular social media reaction came from the twitter account of a Croatian basketball player named Antonija Misura:

Several journalists went to Soma yesterday and finally we managed to hear the own words of the survivors. Some interviews were really striking. Here is one of them, Hüseyin is speaking:

This is a slave camp. An expert miner makes 1600 Liras a month at most. The newcomers cannot make more than 1200. Around 700 workers go down in one shift and in each of the galleries there are 60 miners and a supervisor. Depending on the coal, the supervisor gets the bonus. That’s why he makes us work under the most difficult conditions and always presses to get more.

Another survivor talks about his brother who was stuck deep down in the mines:

I worked in the mine for 10 years. There was no proper inspection in the mines. The inspections in this mine were totally a formality. The inspectors inspect on paper. My brother had been retired from the mine. But he couldn’t sustain his family and decided to go down once again. My brother was stuck in the mine for that 1200 liras.

Words of another miner is like an introduction to capitalism:

State gived 3000 Liras as a monthly wage, whereas it is only 1000-1300 for the private sector. And the only difference is that we work harder. If it wasn’t privatized we would be safer and earning more. DG of Turkish Coal operated this mine for long years and there was not even a single accident.

Spark Meets the Gunpowder: Countrywide Protests

This massacre occurred in a time when the peoples of Turkey are getting more and more frustrated with the AKP government. We have seen the June Uprising last year and the Party’s corruption was unveiled at the beginning of 2014 as a result of an inter-oligarchic rivalry.

By the time I wrote this blog post, there were protests in İstanbul, Ankara, Dersim, Diyarbakır, İzmir and Zonguldak. For example, miners in Zonguldak province did not go to work today and organized a march to show their solidarity.

The death toll is expected to rise up to 800. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Ministers of the cabinet showed any signs of resigning. Masses are angry, the reports of spontaneous protests popping in the public busses, ferries and the streets are heard everyday.

It looks like the already existing crisis is coming to a point where even the general elections will not be a solution for the ruling AKP.


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