Back from Soma: a discussion with Aaron Stein

I returned to Istanbul from Soma this afternoon after nearly a week spent reporting from the scene of the tragic disaster in which 301 miners lost their lives last Tuesday. I have a piece coming out for Newsweek on Friday, and I am planning to set down in a longer piece the many other thoughts, impressions, and reporting that hasn’t found it into my stories so far. That’ll either be for this blog or for Jadaliyya. In the meantime I’ve discussed some of the issues surrounding the disaster and my impressions of it in a (fairly lengthy) podcast with Aaron Stein of Turkey Wonk. Enjoy.


9 thoughts on “Back from Soma: a discussion with Aaron Stein

  1. Elif says:

    Thank you very much for this effort. It’s very valuable because Turkish journalism has now for a very long time fallen short of addressing the needs of people who look for thorough and objective (so much as possible) accounts of major domestic incidents. It has turned out particularly illuminating for the detail-hungry, without the editing it would have gone through before showing up in mainstream international press.

    As for the unclarity regarding inspections, this piece might offer insight:,9321?utm_medium=social&utm_content=sharebutton Apparently the government has long ago relinquished its duty for regular inspection through the so-called “permanent (technical) inspector” and mandated the mining companies to keep such staff on their own payroll. Another interpretation is that the workers Alex talked to might have been referring to the corrupt relationship between government inspectors and company executives, in which the former would be bribed (which seems to be general knowledge) for UNinspecting the mines. Because, as far as I understand from this mess, the Labor Ministry also sends out inspectors specifically to check workplace safety.

    One interesting addition would be to hear how this perfectly agricultural community made its way into mining after 2002 (obviously after one of the deepest crises in Turkish economic history) and how much it had to do with the phasing out of farm subsidies under the then in-force IMF-backed recovery program. I just have the feeling that it might related, because I don’t remember the details of the program anymore. It would be interesting in the sense that it would demonstrate how that much glorified economic growth AKP has mustered comes at the expense of the lowest echelons of the society from which AKP derives much of its support.

    Judgement vacuum? You’re very kind indeed. Made me laugh anyway.

  2. segmation says:

    Such a sad disaster. It must have been hard to do this podcast! Thanks for sharing.

  3. blueneely says:

    May those individuals rest in peace and may their families find solace.

  4. OH boy, this makes me so sad for the families. Off to work for the day only to face such hardship, I hope the family can be helped in so many ways than just monetary.

  5. pumpy9 says:

    Reblogged this on pumpylee9.

  6. Ethen Hunt says:

    I’m really happy that i found your website you wrote a lot of interesting posts Kepp working !

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