ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The number of fatalities of a copper mine collapse in the Kurdish province of Siirt rose to 10 as Turkish police on Saturday arrested a BBC reporter covering the accident.
Civil rescue teams supported by search dogs kept looking for the bodies of four more workers trapped under a landslide that occurred at night on Nov. 20 near the town of Sirvan, reported the Kurdistan24 bureau in Diyarbakir.
Six more workers’ bodies were yet to be recovered from under the slide at Turkey’s largest copper mine some 125 miles east of the major Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.
Family members of miners were waiting for news of their loved ones’ fate in the town of 4,000 people, as Turkish police arrested BBC reporter Hatice Kamer who was there to talk to victims’ relatives.
There was no immediate explanation for the arrest of Kamer from the authorities, said BBC Turkish service on its website.
Kamer was the latest among at least 160 journalists detained or jailed by Turkish authorities.
In Turkey, where the economy has seen sizeable growth in the last decade under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s successive governments, labor-related accidents are not rare.
Previously, there was at least one landslide on July 25 which went without loss of life at the Sirvan mine operated by the private Park Elektrik company whose owners Ciner Holding had close relations with the government.
Turkey’s second largest opposition block, the pro-Kurdish and leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), accused the government of failures in work security in industrial and mining zones.
HDP’s imprisoned co-chair Selahattin Demirtas sent his condolences from a prison in Edirne last week, as the party’s co-deputy Serpil Kemalbay called on authorities to work more closely with unions.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany