The iconic leader of Turkey's Independent Miners' Union, Tahir Çetin, died in a crash crash while returning from a protest in the capital Ankara with union member Ali Faik İnter, the organization said on July 9.
Çetin was at the Ankara demonstration in solidarity with the workers of Uyar Mining Company, who have been withheld severance payments for 15 years.
"Our sorrow is immense! Our rage is immense! We have lost the brave leader of miners, our chairman, our everything Tahir Çetin, and our monument of dignity, our beloved Ali Faik!" wrote the union in a tweet.
ACIMIZ ÇOK BÜYÜK!— Bağımsız Maden İş (@bagimsizmadenis) July 9, 2021
ÖFKEMİZ ÇOK BÜYÜK!
Maden işçilerinin yiğit önderi, genel başkanımız, herşeyimiz
Tahir Çetin'i ve önderimiz, haysiyet abidemiz, canımız Ali Faik'imizi kaybettik. https://t.co/Is8mIgmubU
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Melda Onur noted that the chairman had become one of the innumerable miners from western Manisa's Soma district who died in their search for justice.
"Soma miners were killed in their fight! Again!!!" Onur wrote. "He will live on through his fight!"
Somalı Madenciler haklarını arama mücadelesinde tekrar öldürüldüler! Tekrar!!!— Melda Onur (@meldaonur) July 9, 2021
Çok canım yandı çok! Tahir tanıştığım ilk Somalı madenciydi. Mücadelesiyle yaşacak! pic.twitter.com/8BTTkxabLq
Miners from Manisa's Soma have not received severance pay dating back as far as 15 years.
They went to Ankara on July 4 with the hopes that the government makes their mining company Uyar Madencilik pay their severance pay.
Although they held a meeting with a delegation from the Energy Ministry, their efforts turned unfruitful. And on July 8, they hit the road again to go back to Soma.