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Opinion

There's something rotten in the state of Turkey

The death toll in Soma's mining accident has exceeded all fears. Politicians are pointing the finger at each other. While they might have their reasons, this behavior doesn't help anyone, says DW's Baha Güngör.

Mining accidents are a frequent occurance in Turkey's coal regions. But most of them don't register on a national scale, let alone an international one. But the mining disaster that took place in Soma in western Anatolia on Tuesday (13.05.2014) cost more lives than any such accident in Turkey's history. The death toll keeps rising and there are only estimates as to how many people are still trapped underground. The number of miners still waiting to be rescued, on the other hand, is getting smaller and smaller. There will likely be a lot more deaths than survivors.

Just like with any mining disaster anywhere in the world, there's no shortage of finger-pointing in Turkey. But any attempt to profit from human suffering to get ahead in domestic politics is just proof of disrespect towards God, death and the life that remains. The opposition is alluding to a parliamentary inquiry that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shot down three weeks ago - about security in the Turkish mountains. That behavior is not useful to the victims' families at all.

It will also not lessen the people's suffering when they are told that reorganization measures have significantly reduced the production costs of one ton of coal. The other side of the coin is that many shortcomings have been swept under the carpet. Knowing how high the bribes were that changed hands would also be important – but so far there's only speculation on that issue.

Erdogan's expected presidential candidacy has suffered a setback. His win in the first round of the elections on August 10, 2014, is not a given anymore. Having to go through a second round would not live up to his expectations, because he wants a triumphant win in the first presidential elections by the people. Quite apart from that, a victory in the second round would be far from certain, because the opposition might then agree on one candidate to beat Erdogan.

There are many things rotten in the state of Turkey. But the hope that Turkey could turn away from the wrong path gives the people new energy to survive in an increasingly corrupt society. It's been a long way down: Turkey was once seen as a regional political and economic powerhouse. Now the country is increasingly regarded by Europe as "the sick man of the Bosporus" and might be taken advantage of.

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