The day after Turkey’s prime minister was attacked in Soma, there was tight security as President Abdullah Gul visited the scene of the country’s worst ever mining disaster, in which at least 282 people have died.
But as he comforted grieving relatives, protesters in the crowd cried out their sorrow, demanding explanations – and that the more than 100 people still trapped underground be brought to the surface.
Two days after the fire and explosion, there is virtually no hope that anyone will emerge alive.
Avoiding the less than diplomatic language used by the premier on Wednesday, Gul offered his condolences, saying that
developed countries have worked to put a stop to such disasters.
“We should review all our rules and regulations. We should take all precautions,” he said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced local anger first hand when he was booed in Soma and his official car attacked.
He had told a news conference that mining accidents happened everywhere, including in 19th century Britain.
Photographs on social media of an Erdogan aide appearing to kick a protester in Soma – a dead miner’s relative according to unconfirmed reports – have stirred outrage nationwide.
In Soma, despair flared into fury amid claims that the ruling AK party has repeatedly ignored warnings over mining safety in privatised pits.