Afghan miner killed in northern Turkey to cover up illegal mine: report

An Afghan man who was injured while working in an illegal coal mine in northern Turkey was not taken to a hospital but was beaten to death to prevent the authorities from learning of the activities of the illegal mine, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Gazete Duvar news website.

The body of the Afghan miner, a father of three identified as Vezir Mohammad Nourtani, 50, was found in a forested area in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak on Nov. 11. His body had been torched with gasoline when it was found. An autopsy revealed that the man actually died on Nov. 9 and that his body had been taken to the forested area.

Six people including the owner of the mine have been detained in connection with Nourtani’s death.

One of the suspects, Serkan Kayabaş, said during interrogation that when he saw Nourtani lying unconscious on the ground, he notified the mine’s owners, Enver Gideroğlu and Hakan Kornoş, while another miner tried to administer cardiac massage.

When Kornoş arrived at the mine, he refused to take the Afghan man to a hospital but had to take him to his car in a blanket when the other miners insisted.

Kayabaş said the owners of the mine threatened them not to tell anyone about the incident or else they would be killed.

According to Gazete Duvar, Nourtani was beaten to death and his body was taken to a forested area to be burned by the suspects, who reportedly admitted to killing the man in their testimony so that authorities would not know about the illegal mine.

It turned out that one of the owners of the mine, Kornoş, is a local politician from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Nourtani, who had begun to work in the mine a month ago, was buried in Zonguldak.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.2 million registered Syrian refugees, has been faced with an increasing number of Afghans attempting to enter the country through Iran since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital of Kabul in the summer of 2021.

The refugees, who try to survive amid growing anti-refugee sentiment in the country, are seen as “cheap labor” and are forced to work under difficult circumstances without any benefits or protection for their safety.

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