A video showing a conversation between a woman who lost her brother in a mine blast in northern Turkey which killed at least 41 people on Friday and the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, went viral on social media on Saturday.
The video was taken when Erdoğan visited a nearby village in the Amasra district in Bartın province to offer his condolences to the relatives of miners who had been killed in the mine explosion.
“My brother said there was a gas leak here 10 days ago, 15 days ago. He said ‘they’re going to blow us up’. How did this negligence happen?” the woman asked Erdoğan, as she wept.
The president in response went silent and then cut the conversation by telling the crowd that he was sorry for their losses.
Erdoğan sparked outrage on social media on Saturday after saying that the Amasra Coal Establishment was inspected a month ago and referring to the hand of destiny in such accidents. The president had made a similar remark in 2014 after the Soma mining accident which claimed the lives of 301 workers. He said at the time that such deaths were normal as they were in the nature of the occupation.
However, a 2019 report prepared by the Supreme Court of Public Accounts and shared after the incident in Amasra, shows that rather than the hand of divine powers, negligence played a major role in the mine explosion in which 41 miners were killed, and 11 other were left injured.
The Court’s report says that 893 workers were injured in 112 occupational accidents happened in the mining site in Bartın between 2013 and 2018.
Turkey’s Pit Coal Institution (TTK) accused MPs from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of disinformation for sharing the findings of the court’s report.
The Turkish authorities have also launched investigations into 12 people accused of sharing provocative information on the mine explosion on social media.
Meanwhile, a second video about the mine accident also went viral on Saturday. The video shows a reporter from the government-affiliated A Haber news agency talking to a Chinese engineer at the explosion site.
In the wake of the blast, with miners still underground waiting to be rescued, the reporter asks the engineer to describe the environment below, after the engineer said the management and workers were like a family, the reporter than proceeds with a number of completely irrelevant questions: “Is your family in China?” “How do you catch up with them, do you miss them?” “Will your children also become engineers?” he asks.