Miners killed in Turkey – not accident, not faith but crime

We are very sorry to be coming back online after a while with such bad news:

157 workers were killed in the Soma coal mine in Turkey yesterday. 273 workers are still unaccounted for. They join the 270 people who died in work-related accidents in the first three months of 2014.

According to International Labor Organization (ILO) figures, Turkey ranks first in Europe and third in the world for fatal work accidents. The ILO says 18 out of 100,000 insured laborers die every year in work accidents, seven times greater than the EU average of 2.5.

Those who are fortunate enough to live hardly face brighter prospects. More than a million subcontracted workers in the private and public sector work without job security, deprived of their right to join unions and participate in collective bargaining.

Millions more work as minimum-waged labourers, making 846 TL [US$400] per month, below the official hunger limit of 1,200 TL per month.

Coal miners are expected to die in this land of cheap labour and expendable lives. “Dying,” Turkish PM Erdogan declared following a 2010 explosion that killed 30 workers at a Zonguldak mine, “is the fate of the coal miner.” “Those who enter this profession should be aware of its risks.”

Not fate. Nor accident. This is systematic murder.

http://www.turkiyenewspaper.com/Economics/4664-labor-minister-occupational-safety-poor-in-turkey.aspx

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/turkey-trade-union-restriction-hostility-government-labor.html

“On April 29, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had submitted a motion to Parliament to investigate work-related accidents at the mine in Soma, only for the proposal to be rejected with votes from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).”

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/151-killed-hundreds-trapped-by-coal-mine-explosion-energy-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=66438&NewsCatID=341

This blogger knows at least one academic personally who have been sarning the government about occupational deaths. Coal – why coal at this day and age with such wind and solar potential in the country anyway? And how dare a PM say – as Erdogan did a few years back – that risk of death is part of mining and miners accept it when they take on the job. Even if statistically this is the case where in the job description of a PM it says “make statements based on statistics, make no attempt to change them”!

Checking the social media – some are not covering this for whatever reason, some are expressing their outrage through prayer, some are organsing demonstrations. Last year almost to the day there was a bombing in Reyhanli, which was a crucial factor in pushing at least some people to the streets, this year will Soma be the same? In the meantime, innocent people continue to die.

***
The authorities cannot give a certain number as to exactly how many miners were under ground at the time of the explosion. Isn’t this enough sign that health & safety rules were not adhered to?

A tweet acount opened just to make one statement about the accident said that one worker was taken out on strecher with oxygen mask on his face, when his sister held his hand it was alreay cold, she fought her way into the ambulance, when the doors closed they pulled the mask off and covered his face with blanket. They wanted to show him as wounded to the media and people waiting, while he’d already been dead.

***
The number of deaths at 157 seems to be a deliberate underestimate.

***
Within half an hour of writing the above the number killed rose to 201.
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27403061

***
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/13/turkey-mine-blast-people-killed-trapped-rescue-operation

Apologies for typos, post written on a phone.

Opposition ballots found in trash bags in southern Turkey

Photo from DHA

Photo from DHA

1st April 2014 – Used ballots, marked for the main opposition Republican  Peoples’ Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have been  found in the garbage of six schools used as polling stations in the southern  province of Osmaniye. City residents reported the incident to the police when they found the used  ballots in the trash in Osmaniye’s Düziçi district. According to reports, the schools where the ballots were found are the Uzunbanı Elementary School, Atatürk High School, Atatürk Elementary School, Cumhuriyet High School, Cumhuriyet Elementary School and ÇEAŞ Anatolian High School. It was claimed that the ballots were planned to be burned. Candidates from the CHP and MHP have filed an official complaint to the Public Prosecutors’ Office and have appealed to the Supreme Election Council (YSK). The Düziçi Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident. The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Ökkeş Namlı won in the Düziçi district with 10,294 votes. The CHP’s Alper Öner received 9,854 votes, while the MHP’s Muhammet Kaya received 5,179 votes.

From: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-ballots-found-in-trash-bags-in-southern-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64390&NewsCatID=338

 

‘Twitter, Mtwitter!’: Turkish Prime Minister’s 9 Craziest Quotes About Social Media

28th March 2014 – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan really doesn’t like social media. Days before the municipal elections, the Turkish strongman has blocked Twitter and banned YouTube after corruption allegations surfaced on the two social media platforms. Here are some of Erdoğan’s best quotes about social media — from the “scourge” that is Twitter, to the case of the “smeared housewife.”

Erdogan

 

Continuous: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/quotes-turkey-erdogan-social-media/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

Turkey moves to block YouTube access after ‘audio leak’

27th March 2014 – Turkey has moved to block access to YouTube, a day after a court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed. The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an “administrative measure” against the site but another report suggests that talks are under way. Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site. Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.

It relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey’s intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation. Mr Erdogan, who faces important local elections on Sunday, accuses social media of spreading misinformation and suggested earlier that bans could be applied to both YouTube and Facebook. At a rally this week, Mr Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.” On Wednesday, a court in the capital, Ankara, ordered the TIB to lift its ban on Twitter, but it could be weeks before the order takes effect. Twitter itself has filed a challenge to the access ban. It said it was concerned about a court order to suspend an account which accused a former minister of corruption.

 

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26773702

 

 

AK Party uses state, municipality resources for Istanbul rally

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) took full advantage of state and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality assets for its election rally in Istanbul on Sunday, as it did for previous rallies, violating campaign rules in place for the March 30 local elections and drawing the ire of opposition parties. The opposition believes that the AK Party not only “steals state resources” to finance its crowded rallies, but also engages in unfair competition against its political rivals. “We are faced with an [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who has linked his future to protecting his [political] power. He gathers thousands of people at his election rallies to manipulate perception [to create the image that he is still very powerful], and he is using state resources to do this,” said Ruhsar Demirel, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy chairwoman, speaking to Today’s Zaman. In Istanbul on March 23, the municipality mobilized all means at its disposal for the AK Party rally. Dozens of municipality buses were used to carry party supporters to the rally area. The buses, decorated with AK Party flags, had signs indicating that they were “on duty” for the AK Party rally. They refused to accept other passengers and party supporters were not asked to pay the fare for their transport to the rally at Yenikapı Square. City ferries and high-speed ferries also carried thousands of AK Party supporters to the rally area free of charge. Party supporters were also offered free transport on Marmaray, the undersea commuter train line that connects İstanbul’s Asian side to the European side. Some of the entry gates at Marmaray stations were reserved for AK Party supporters going to the rally and announcements were made for several hours that said, “Passengers attending the [AK Party] rally may use these gates at no charge.” The crowd was so large that some supporters who were unable to get on Marmaray trains were asked by security guards to use boats and high-speed ferries. News sources reported that tension erupted between some passengers and security guards when some who wanted to use Marmaray on Sunday but did not plan to attend the AK Party rally were asked to pay a fare. Complaints were made and questions were asked about why AK Party supporters were permitted to benefit from state resources supported with the taxes paid by millions of people. Ayşe Fındık told the Cihan news agency that the allocation of state and municipality resources for the AK Party rally created havoc in Istanbul. “People were asked to pay to use Marmaray yesterday, but it is free of charge today. Buses are not operating because they are carrying [AK] party supporters to the rally. We walked here [Marmaray] from Eminönü [because buses were not running]. This is a sin. This is illegal. They may hold rallies, but they do not have the right to inconvenience people like this. I am trying to get home from work,” she said. People who attended the AK Party rally were also offered transportation free of charge after the rally. For the complete article: http://en.cihan.com.tr/news/AK-Party-uses-state-municipality-resources-for-Istanbul-rally_5463-CHMTM4NTQ2My8xMDA1;+2uoi

The End of Erdogan

16th March 2014 – By Henri J. Barkey. It is hard to imagine how in any society a Prime Minister caught on tape firing journalists because he does not like their point of view or instructing television stations to stop the broadcasting of an opposition leader’s speech in parliament could survive. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of corruption allegations that have been leveled at this particular PM’s ministers, their families, and most critically at him and his own son.

Welcome to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. While he’s indirectly conceded the interference with the freedom of the press, the Prime Minister and his stalwarts have engaged in a scorched-earth strategy of blaming a vast conspiracy for the attacks against him. Never mind that ministers have lost their jobs and their sons have been arrested (along with a state-owned bank CEO). Never mind the millions of dollars worth of cash found in houses owned by all these figures, or the taped conversations leaked to the public, mainly through social media outlets, revealing that judicial investigations have been ongoing for sometime. Forget all that: It is not the alleged thieves, crooks, and their enablers who are at fault, but the accusers. So goes the logic in Erdogan’s Turkey. There’s nothing wrong with having millions of dollars and euros stashed at your home or office or elsewhere, and sweetheart deals with shady businessmen are perfectly okay. It’s questioning these practices that is the real threat to the nation.

At the heart of the conspiracy, it is claimed, is a “parallel state” led by Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric who sought refuge in the United States in 1999 when he was persecuted by the then-dominant Turkish military establishment. Gulen and Erdogan had earlier formed an alliance against this common enemy. But now, with the military forced back into its barracks, they have turned on each other. For Erdogan and his supporters this vast conspiracy, instigated by Gulen and his presumed followers in the judiciary and the police force, is aided and abetted by a slew of villains. These include, Americans, Jews, Israel, Germans, neocons, CNN, Financial Times, a variety of international and domestic banks, the Council on Foreign Relations. Even the Queen of England, if you can believe it, has nothing better to do with her time than plot the downfall of the Turkish Prime Minister and his supporters. Why, exactly, would all these people have it in for Erdogan? It’s a mystery, of course.

But let’s set aside these fantasies, at long last. The truth is that Erdogan is the principal and lead actor in his own demise. As good a politician he has been up to recent times, these allegations somehow caught him by surprise. He has been the unchallenged leader of Turkey for a decade. No one has dared cross him, and no one has figured out how to beat him. The opposition has been weak, and the resources he has marshaled have enabled him and his party, the Justice and Development Party, AKP, to build a formidable patronage network that encompasses a vast segment of the Turkish press, business groups, lots of NGOs, think tanks, and segments of the bureaucracy. The money that he and his family members have allegedly collected has not merely gone toward self-enrichment, but also toward financing and building a monumental network of individuals and organizations whose only loyalty is to Erdogan.

Continuous: http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/03/13/the-end-of-erdogan/

Turkish PM Erdoğan admits meddling in judiciary, trade deals

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has admitted to interfering in the judicial process and defense tenders, following the revelation of wiretapped conversations released online this week, defending his meddling as “natural.”

“Is there anything more natural than for me to ask my justice minister to follow [an ongoing trial]?” he said March 5 in Ankara, a day after a recording appeared depicting him demanding that a court punish Doğan Holding Honorary Chairman Aydın Doğan while speaking to then-Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin. 

“The information given to me by the Capital Markets Board [SPK] was very dangerous. [It contains] parallel structures and a dirty relationship. So it makes it necessary for me to tell [the justice minister] to closely follow [the case],” Erdoğan said during a meeting with representatives of local media outlets.

Erdoğan’s remarks also came after Doğan Holding issued a statement expressing hope that the alleged conversation was not correct and that the tapes were not real. 

“If correct, such a conversation will further shake the judicial system in Turkey beyond creating a personal grievance,” the statement said. 

Erdoğan also commented about another leaked conversation regarding a project to build a national warship, known as the MİLGEM program, in which he advises a businessman who claimed to have been unable to take part in the bid to take legal action.

“There are many tenders and someone could have been excluded and might have appealed to me. And I’m telling them to open a lawsuit because the state ultimately earns millions of dollars out of it,” Erdoğan said regarding the tape.  

“Here it is, they are characterless to the degree of listening to that conversation,” he added, accusing once again the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of conducting the wiretappings. 

“You will infiltrate the state, tap people’s phone conversations, then blackmail them. You will extort people. Leave aside Islam, you cannot see such lowness in any religion,” he said.

Erdoğan also reiterated his threat to uncover many truths regarding the Gülen network. “All the dirty relationships and the dirty actions will be revealed one by one, and their perpetrators will face justice,” he said. 

Erdoğan faces one of the biggest crises in the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 11-year rule and has proclaimed that the upcoming local elections on March 30 will be his party’s most important test.

Corruption allegations moved closer to Erdoğan’s family after voice recordings between him and his son were leaked last week onto the Internet. Erdoğan described the recordings, in which he was heard discussing how to hide large sums of money, as a “montage.”

But on March 5, he said he was ready to step down if his ruling party failed to win the most votes in the March 30 elections.

“I am ready to quit politics unless my party emerges as the winner in the elections,” Erdoğan said.

March/05/2014, Hürriyet Daily News