TODAYSZAMAN.COM – Labor minister implies Energy Ministry responsible for Soma

Labor minister implies Energy Ministry responsible for SomaLabor and Social Security Minister Faruk elik has said, in reference to the mine disaster in Soma, in which at least 301 miners lost their lives on May 13, that mines are not under his ministry’s control, pointing the finger at the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry instead. Speaking about official responsibility for the mine accident with the Cumhuriyet daily on Tuesday, elik said the Labor Ministry’s duties towards the mining industry are limited to inspections and mining licenses, but the mines’ operations come within the remit of the Energy Ministry.

“We are ready to give an account on every platform if it is claimed that the Labor Ministry breached its duty [in terms of the mine accident]. I am responsible for the inspection of mines.

If there is even a 1 percent failure [in inspections], it is not possible for me to continue as labor minister I am not attracted to the power of office,” elik said. Discussing the mine accident in relation to Turkey’s energy policy, Minister elik maintained that the coal mines in Turkey should be closed down as they have been in developed European countries such as Germany and France.

On the allegations that the owner of the mining company has close relations with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), elik stressed that he has not met with the owner of the company and knows nothing about the firm taking over the operating rights of the mine from Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI).“Those things are not my field.

I am only responsible for inspections there. In my term in office I have never protected anybody and I will never do so in the future,” he added.

Minister elik also claimed that a campaign pressuring him to resign might have been sparked by his failure to visit the mine immediately after the accident, citing health issues as the reason for the delay.elik, who was absent from Soma for the first two days after the accident, also made his first statement regarding the mine disaster 27 hours later, on May 14, stating that health problems had prevented him from acting earlier When asked by reporters whether he would resign, elik gave no indication that he would.

He said: “I also should have gone [to Soma]. We sent our deputy minister and all the technical teams [from the ministry].

We were, as the ministry, on the spot right after [the incident].” The minister, in his defense, added that the mine had been inspected eight times in the previous four years.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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