Turkish ministry blocks investigation of officials over deathly mine explosion

Turkey's Labor Ministry did not give permission to an investigation against two chief inspectors over the death of 42 miners in the mine explosion in Amasra district. The Energy Ministry, on the other hand, decided to wait until expert report to allow the investigation against mine’s executives affiliated with the Turkish Hard Coal Corporation.

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

Turkey's Labor and Social Security Ministry rejected a prosecutor office's request for the permission to investigate two chief inspectors in connection with the explosion that killed 42 workers at a mine in Bartın's Amasra district. The ministry argued that the chief inspectors had no fault or responsibility.

On the other hand, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry has decided to wait to decide on the request for permission to investigate Kazım Eroğlu, the General Manager of the Turkish Hard Coal Corporation (TTK) to which the mine is affiliated, and other TTK officials. The ministry will respond to the request after the field discovery and publication of the expert report.

On December 26, 2022, the Amasra Chief Public Prosecutor's Office requested permission for an investigation against the mine's executives and chief inspectors from the both ministries.

The investigation against TTK officials and chief inspectors has been launched over the charge of "misconduct in office." If permission for an investigation had been granted, TTK officials and chief inspectors would have been prosecuted with a prison sentence of up to two years.

In the lawsuit filed in connection with the explosion at the mine, 23 defendants, eight of whom are arrested, are on trial. Four of the arrested defendants are facing up to 1080 years in prison, and the other defendants are facing up to 18 years in prison and will appear before the judge on April 25.

TTK General Director Kazım Eroğlu, against whom an investigation permit was requested, has a long record of mine explosions. Before becoming the General Director of TTK, Eroğlu was the Director of the Kozlu Plant in Zonguldak. On January 7, 2013, Eroğlu was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for "causing death by negligence" in the case related to the explosion that killed eight miners in the mine in Kozlu.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)