Safety of Turkish mines questioned after blast kills 41

General view shows Amasra coal mine in the northern Bartin province

General view shows Amasra coal mine in the northern Bartin province© Reuters/CAGLA GURDOGAN

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s main opposition party and an engineering industry body questioned safety protocols on Monday after an explosion at a state-run mine killed 41 workers, stirring memories of the country’s worst mining disaster eight years ago.

The blast on Friday at the Amasra coal mine owned by state-run Turkish Hard Coal Institution (TTK) was the deadliest since a fire at a mine in Soma, western Turkey, in 2014 killed 301 miners and raised similar safety concerns.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said a report by Turkey’s Court of Accounts, a state audit authority, had warned in 2019 of risks at the mine in Amasra in the northern Black Sea region.

Emin Koramaz, head of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, said inspections were not carried out adequately partly because staff numbers had been reduced, cutting qualified personnel.

“Mining accidents in Turkey have become routine,” Koramaz told Reuters. “The main reason… is that mining science is being ignored (and) a lack of technical knowledge and infrastructure”.

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