Turkish ministers, CHP leader greet new year with miners

A total of 29 miners were killed inside the Karadon mine following a large methane gas explosion on May 17 of last year.

Turkish ministers, CHP leader greet new year with miners

World Bulletin / News Desk

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız and Labor and Social Security Minister Ömer Dinçer greeted 2011 with miners around 500 meters underground in the northern province of Zonguldak.

A total of 29 miners were killed inside the Karadon mine following a large methane gas explosion on May 17 of last year. The two ministers visited the mine late Friday and prayed for the killed miners. They later had dinner with the workers. “People aboveground are enjoying themselves tonight, but the meal we are having here is more delicious than one in any restaurant,” Yıldız stated.

The ministers later walked five kilometers of the mine in commemoration of those killed in the explosion and were briefed by mining engineers about ongoing efforts to retrieve the bodies of two miners. The engineers pledged to complete the search efforts as soon as possible.

Responding to a question regarding Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's unfulfilled promise to visit the Karadon mine, Dinçer said: “I am sorry. I wish he had come. I wish all of our ministers and the leader of the main opposition party would have come here.”

In the meantime, the CHP leader welcomed the new year with miners in the Soma district of Manisa. He said he wanted to wish miners underground a happy new year. “I wish miners a happy year. The working conditions underground are really hard, which we will see for ourselves as we descend around 500 meters. I have visited mines before, but this will be the first time I will go underground,” he noted.

The CHP leader wished all a happy and peaceful 2011. “I wish for better conditions for workers and good jobs for the unemployed,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu spent around one hour underground. He had dinner with miners and chatted with them for a while. “May God help those who work for eight hours a day under such hard conditions. They are engaged in a sacred profession. They deserve every single penny they are earning,” he said.

The CHP leader spoke to reporters after leaving the mine, saying he ate cookies, desserts, pasties and drank fruit juice with the miners. “We were around 500 meters below ground and it was not hard to descend, but we had some difficulty going back up. We took breaks when ascending and I met with miners, wishing them a happy new year,” he stated.

Last Mod: 02 Ocak 2011, 18:46
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