Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Bayrou decides to march with Macron

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Topsy-Turvy Election: Uncertain outcome as insurgents blow away old guard (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Topsy-Turvy Election: Uncertain outcome as insurgents blow away old guard (part 2)

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Amnesty chief urges France to 'stay true to its values'

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Certain Women', 'Rock’n Roll' and 'A Wedding'

Read more

FOCUS

#BringBackOurInternet: English-speaking Cameroon hit by digital blackout

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Preaching coexistence: Avant-garde mosque opens in Lebanon's Druze heartland

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Prison guards turn guns on prisoners in Chile, and thousands of migrants stuck in smoky warehouses in Serbia

Read more

FACE-OFF

French presidential race: Le Pen makes groundbreaking visit to Lebanon

Read more

Europe

Turkish mine search ends with death toll at 301

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-17

Turkey on Saturday declared rescue operations at an end after retrieving the bodies of the last two trapped coal miners, raising the final death toll following a devastating blast to 301.

“The rescue operation was carried out to completion. There are no miners left underground," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters in the western town of Soma, site of the country's worst ever industrial disaster.

Earlier a new fire broke out in the mine, hindering the rescue teams. Yildiz said it had been extinguished and two more dead workers found. They were believed to be the last bodies in the mine.

"The newly discovered workers will be brought up and given back to their families," he said.

Yildiz said 485 miners escaped or were rescued since the rescue operation started on Tuesday.

The disaster triggered angry protests across Turkey, aimed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its reaction to the tragedy.

Erdogan has presided over a decade of rapid economic growth but worker safety standards have failed to keep pace, leaving Turkey with one of the world's worst industrial accident records.

The frustrations boiled over in Soma on Friday as riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse several thousand protesters.

On Saturday, police increased security in Soma to prevent new protests and detained lawyers who scuffled with police after objecting to identity checks, NTV television reported. The lawyers came to offer legal advice to the victims.

Overnight, demonstrators clashes with police in the western port city of Izmir. There were also protests in Istanbul.

The police intervention in Soma could add to public anger towards Erdogan. There was wide media coverage of footage apparently showing Erdogan slapping a man as locals jeered his entourage when he visited Soma this week.

"Why are you running away, Israeli spawn?" Erdogan is heard yelling at a protester in the footage, which surfaced after one of his advisors was photographed kicking a grieving demonstrator.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-17

  • TURKEY

    Police fire teargas as 10,000 protest Turkish mine disaster

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Hundreds dead or trapped after Turkish coal mine blast

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Clashes in Turkey as protesters mourn teenager’s death

    Read more

COMMENT(S)