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Tempers fray over Turkey mine disaster

Friday, May 16, 2014 - 00:37

May 16 - Photographs show an aide of Turkish Prime Minister appearing to kick a protester in the aftermath of the Soma mine disaster. Rough cut (No reporter narration)

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PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Photographs of one of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's advisors appearing to kick a protester during the aftermath of a mine disaster with hundreds of dead did the rounds on social media on Thursday (May 15), one day after hundreds of workers were killed in a mine in Soma. Erdogan's office was not immediately available to comment after his close advisor Yusuf Yerkel was captured kicking a protester as special forces police detained him during a protest. On Thursday, rescuers were still trying to reach parts of the coal mine in Soma, 480 km (300 miles) southwest of Istanbul, almost 48 hours after fire knocked out power and shut down the ventilation shafts and elevators, trapping hundreds underground. At least 282 people have been confirmed dead, mostly from carbon monoxide poisoning, and hopes are fading of pulling out any more alive of the 100 or so still thought to be inside. Anger has swept a country that has boasted a decade of rapid economic growth under Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government but which still suffers from one of the world's worst workplace safety standards. Furious residents heckled Erdogan and jostled his entourage on Wednesday as he toured the town, angry at what they see as the government's cosiness with mining tycoons, its failure to ensure safety and a lack of information on the rescue effort. Erdogan, who is expected to stand in a presidential election in August, has weathered mass protests and a corruption scandal over the past year, and his AK Party dominated local polls in March despite the political turbulence. But his fractious handling of a disaster hitting the sort of working class, conservative community which makes up the core of his supporter base is further evidence, his opponents say, that he is a leader increasingly out of touch. Four of Turkey's labour unions called for a national one-day strike on Thursday, furious at what they see as a sharp deterioration in working conditions since formerly state-run mines including the one in Soma were leased to private firms.

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Tempers fray over Turkey mine disaster

Friday, May 16, 2014 - 00:37