Miners who lost their jobs after the Soma mine disaster of 2014 have staged a protest in demand of receiving their still-unpaid severance pay from the Soma holding and Uyar mining companies.
An explosion at the Soma mine in Turkey’s province of Manisa resulted in the deaths of 301 miners, making it the worst work-related accident in the history of the Turkish republic. The explosion resulted in the workers becoming trapped in the mine, and most of them died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Following the disaster, 3,500 miners were left without jobs and were unable to receive severance or retirement benefits. Despite winning a court case granting them these payments, they say they have still not received them from the company.
The miners began marching from Soma on Saturday, vowing to travel on foot all the way to the Ministry of Energy in the capital of Ankara. Despite not having been ordered to do so by a court, security forces prevented the miners from continuing their walk past the neighboring town of Kırkağaç, just 12km away from Soma. Some of the miners have camped out in tents and vow to proceed with their protest.
“We are determined to walk, that road will be opened and we will walk. We are waiting by the side of the road now. Occasionally during their shift changes miners come to show support. Civil society organizations are coming to support, and today Manisa parliamentary deputies will come,” said miner Kamil Kartal.