Prime suspect in Turkey’s worst mining accident puts blame on Gülen movement

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Relatives of Soma mine disaster victims pray at the cemetery in the Turkish town of Soma in Manisa, where 301 workers were killed after an explosion on May 13, 2014 in a mine run by Soma Holding.

In yet another example of scapegoating the Gülen movement for anything wrong in Turkey, the chairman of Soma Holding has reiterated earlier accusations, demanding an investigation into the movement’s role in the country’s deadliest mining disaster, which killed 301 people in 2014.

Soma Holding Chairman Can Gürkan said during a hearing on Wednesday that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) might have prepared a report on the movement’s role in the accident and asked the court to subpoena the report if it exists.

Gürkan is currently on trial along with five suspects under arrest and 40 others who were released pending trial by a Manisa court.

An underground fire killed 301 people in May 2014, and the owners have been criticized for poor safety conditions at the mine.

But the company’s alleged negligence has failed to stop Gürkan from putting the blame for the disaster on the movement, Turkey’s new scapegoat which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15.

Nearly a month after the abortive coup, Gürkan said during a hearing: “Our country is under threat from the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], DHKP/C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front] and FETÖ. These organizations also plotted some accidents. The perpetrator of the Soma accident is FETÖ. Zeynel Balkız, the former head of the Manisa Bar Association, said following the incident, ‘We stand by the families affected by the accident.’ The government has since seized his properties over his links to FETÖ.”

The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) is an abbreviation coined by the government to label the movement as a terrorist organization. (Turkey Purge)

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