Two more charged as Turkey promises action over mine disaster

People mourn at graves for miners who died in Tuesday's mine disaster, at a cemetery in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa on May 18, 2014. Two more officials in Turkey have been charged with manslaughter as the government p
People mourn at graves for miners who died in Tuesday's mine disaster, at a cemetery in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa on May 18, 2014. Two more officials in Turkey have been charged with manslaughter as the government promised "a plan of action" to improve mining safety after the country's worst mining disaster claimed 301 lives, a spokesman said on Monday, May 19, 2014. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

ANKARA (AFP) - Two more officials in Turkey have been charged with manslaughter as the government promised "a plan of action" to improve mining safety after the country's worst mining disaster claimed 301 lives, a spokesman said on Monday.

A total of five officials from mining company Soma Komur have now been charged with manslaughter, news agency Dogan reported, with more due before prosecutors on Monday.

Meanwhile, the government said it would outline improved controls on mining safety this week, focusing on improved coordination between supervising agencies, according to a spokesman quoted in the daily Sabah newspaper.

Ankara may also ratify the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) convention on mining health and safety, the paper added.

According to the ILO, Turkey had the highest number of work deaths in Europe in 2012, and the third highest in the world. From 2002 to 2012, more than 1,000 Turkish miners have been killed.

Since last Tuesday's explosion at the Soma mine, the government and mining officials have been accused of negligence, sparking protests in several towns and cities. A total of 25 mining officials were detained for questioning by the police on Sunday under orders from investigators.

The five charged with manslaughter include general manager of Soma Komur, Akin Celik, as well as two engineers and two supervisors, Dogan reported.

The lead prosecutor in Soma, Bekir Sahiner, ruled on Sunday that an electrical fault triggered the fire that spread through the mine, backing initial witness accounts.

Rescue operations were suspended on Saturday as information from families suggested that all the bodies had been recovered. Police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse large protests in Turkey's main cities, and another demonstration is planned in Ankara on Monday.