Two weeks before the coal mine in western Turkey exploded Tuesday, killing more than 200 people and trapping about 800 others, the Turkish Parliament rejected an effort to have coal mines in the area investigated, according to local media.
Turkey’s Republican People’s Party made a motion in October 2013 to investigate work-related accidents in Soma, where the mine is situated, but the proposal was rejected by the ruling Justice and Development Party about two weeks ago, meaning the motion was never addressed in Turkey’s parliament, according to the English-language Hurriyet Daily News.
“We demand an investigation into all the mine accidents in Soma to reveal the reasons and those responsible for the deaths in those accidents, to find permanent solutions to preventing a repeat of these cases, and to measure the sufficiency of the law enforcement and auditing of these institutions,” the motion stated.
On April 29, a Parliament member aligned with the Republican People’s Party said 90 percent of the 5,000 work-related injuries in Soma in 2013 involved mines.
“Burn injuries share a considerable number of all mine injuries. However, hospitals in Soma lack the necessary burn units, and time is wasted on the road in transferring such injured workers to nearby hospitals,” Nationalist Movement Party Member Erkan Akçay said.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey's prime minister, said on Wednesday that 232 people were killed in the mine explosion.