The mining disaster in Turkey: does Turkey have the government it deserves?

President Park of South Korea responded with tears and apologies for the faults of the South Korean government, particularly the Coast Guard, which helped lead to the appalling loss of life when a ferry went down with hundreds of school children aboard. She has subsequently vowed to disband the Coast Guard, which bungled the rescue efforts.

The beloved leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un,  is not given to expressions of sorrow even when friends, lovers, and relatives are executed at his command. However when an apartment building in Pongyang collapsed killing many residents, he said he stayed up all night in agony. One assumes that some members of the construction industry may lose their heads.

The deeply religious, conservative, and ambitious PM of Turkey is planning to be Turkey's next president with powers augmented by placing the secret security organs under and the courts under his control. When over 300 miners lost their life in Turkey's worst mining disaster, he brushed it off as something that happens everywhere and vented his vexation on protesters that were either mourning the victims or calling for reform in industrial safety.

It is possible to be cynical about public expressions of sorrow on the part of public leaders, and given the choice between believing the sincerity of the head of North Korea and of the head of South Korea, I have my reasons for believing Madame Park. But what is unbelievable is the prime minister of a putative democracy expressing outrage at mourners and protesters rather than at the mining authorities that certainly share the burden for the disaster in Soma. The police were unleashed with water canons to attack those who came out in mourning and in support of the miners.


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