Prominent opposition deputy resigns, as Turkish gov’t resists public pressure over Soma

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sabahat Akkiraz has put forward a call for a mass resignation from Parliament, arguing that her colleagues resign in solidarity with the people of Soma after the country’s worst mining accident in its history.

“I met with [CHP leader] Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at 5:00 pm on Thursday [May 15] with my petition to resign as a deputy. I told [him] that we should resign in the aftermath of the Soma disaster. Our leader said the issue happened too recently, but that resignation is an important option if necessary,” Akkiraz wrote on her Twitter account on May 19, adding that there were other CHP deputies who shared the same view.

“There is a need to unite against the ruling party that won’t take political responsibility for Soma,” Akkiraz said. She added that they did not need to have a seat at Parliament to be in solidarity with the people of Soma.

Following the disaster, there were widespread calls for resignations, particularly targeting Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, who coordinated the government’s search and rescue operation in Soma.

The disaster, which took place in the town of Soma in the Western Anatolian province of Manisa on May 13, led to the loss of 301 mine workers.

Turkey’s worst ever industrial accident sparked protests across the country, directed at mine owners who are accused of ignoring safety for profit and at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, which is seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

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