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Turkish police detain 18 in mine disaster investigation- media

Source: Reuters - Sun, 18 May 2014 11:51 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Humeyra Pamuk

SOMA, Turkey, May 18 (Reuters) - Turkish police have detained 18 people, including mining company executives and personnel, as part of an investigation into last week's mine disaster, CNN Turk and other broadcasters reported on Sunday.

The rescue operation at the coal mine, in the western town of Soma, ended on Saturday after the bodies of the last two workers were carried out, bringing the death toll in Turkey's worst industrial accident to 301.

The disaster occurred on Tuesday when a fire sent deadly carbon monoxide coursing through the mine, operated by Soma Madencilik.

A police official told Reuters that local prosecutors were questioning the company employees at a Soma court house. He was unable to give further details.

The accident has triggered protests across Turkey, aimed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

Police put the town of Soma on virtual lockdown on Saturday, setting up checkpoints and detaining dozens of people to enforce a ban on protests. Security in the town remained tight on Sunday. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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