A worker from the coal mine in Soma, a town in the western province of Manisa where 301 miners were killed in an explosion and blaze last week, has said he does not want to return to the mine as he knows that he will die and leave his children without a father if he continues working there.
“I am asking for help from the [state] authorities. I do not want to leave my children without a father, like the children of scores of friends of mine who died in the mine. But if no one helps me, I will have to return to the mine a few days later. This is how things go. This is the reality of life,” miner Nihat Çelik, in tears, said on a program on CNN Türk television on Sunday.
Çelik said he has to work in the mine if the authorities do not help him out because his family lives in a rented house and he owes a bank money.
According to the worker, the miners at the Soma coal mine were working under great pressure from their superiors. “They put pressure on us. Everything is about more [financial gains] in the mine business. If workers extract more coal [than ordered], their superiors are awarded. But if they extract less, no one says there is a problem. They have to extract the amount of coal ordered,” Çelik stated.
The worker also said had mine officials taken the workers' warnings about hot coal seriously, the disaster could have been prevented. Hot coal is an indication that a fire is currently burning in some part of the mine. According to Soma miners who escaped the disaster with injuries, a fire in the mine suddenly grew to huge proportions and produced a large quantity of carbon monoxide.
“They [mine officials] would not allow members of political parties other than the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] to come here [to Soma] and carry out their campaigning for the elections. Only AK Party officials were able to come here. And I see this as trying to butter up the government,” the worker added.
Soma mine worker: Do not send me back there
Salih Erkan, one of the miners who survived the May 13 mine disaster, which claimed 301 lives in Soma, is seen with his daughter Sanem. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
May 19, 2014, Monday/ 17:37:27/ TODAY'S ZAMAN / ANKARA