Kurdistan Death toll rises as Turkey frees reporter covering mine accident

Death toll rises as Turkey frees reporter covering mine accident
Family members of miners seen overlooking the copper mine where a landslide devoured 16 of their loved ones in the Kurdish province of Siirt, Turkey, Nov. 18, 2016. (Photo: AA)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Rescue and search teams on Sunday recovered the body of one more worker from under a landslide at a copper mine in the Kurdish province of Siirt, as Turkish police released a BBC journalist covering the incident.

The number of fatalities confirmed at the copper mine near the town of Sirvan rose to 11 with the latest recovery, said the Kurdistan24 Diyarbakir bureau.

There were still five workers whose bodies remained under thousands of tons of soil at the mine which saw the landslide more than a week ago.

One million cubic meters of soil sank at the mine, according to the Siirt Governor’s office.

BBC’s Turkish service reporter Hatice Kamer was arrested on Saturday in Sirvan while covering the accident.

[Reporter Hatice Kamer, BBC]

The mine operated by the private Park Elektrik Company, whose owners Ciner Holding had close relations with the government, previously witnessed at least one landslide on July 25 that went without loss of life.

Kamer, who also free-lances for the Kurdish section of the Voice of America with the pen name Khajija Farqin, went to the town to talk to victims’ relatives, said both the VOA and BBC.

Official details surrounding her more than 24-hours of detention were still unclear, wrote the BBC Turkish website.

Turkish police and judiciary act under the country’s state of emergency which empowered them since the botched July 15 military coup attempt.

Last decade’s economic growth under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s successive Justice and Development Party (AKP) came with a toll in work safety in mining and industrial zones.

A disaster in May 2014 in a coal mine in the Soma district of the western province of Manisa resulted in the deaths of 301 workers, injuring over 80 others.

In 2010, an explosion at another coal mine in the Zonguldak Province of the Black Sea Region took 30 miners’ life.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany