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Turkish mine toll nears 300 as fire halts recovery bid

Demonstrators light candles in memory of the mine victims during a sit-in protest in Istanbul.
Demonstrators light candles in memory of the mine victims during a sit-in protest in Istanbul. Credit: Reuters

A fire broke out on Saturday in part of a mine where nearly 300 miners were killed in Turkey's worst ever industrial disaster, hindering efforts to find up to three remaining workers believed to be still underground, the country's energy minister has said.

Taner Yildiz told reporters the bodies of 15 miners were retrieved overnight, bringing the death to 299, and as many as three workers were still in the mine.

They were unlikely to be alive, four days after an initial fire sent deadly carbon monoxide coursing through the mine.

Turkish mine operators deny negligence amid unrest

The operators of a Turkish mine where 284 workers died in an explosion have denied negligence for the collapse as a former safety worker told ITV News he quit his job because his warnings had been ignored.

Friday prayers in the mining town of Soma honoured those who had lost their lives but the grief was followed by protests involving thousands.

The dissent led to a crackdown by the police, who fired tear gas and water cannons to break up the angered crowds.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports from Soma.

Watch: Video 'shows Turkish PM throwing a punch during mine visit'

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Safety fear emerges amid unrest in Turkish mining town

A former safety worker at the Turkish mine where 284 people were killed in a mining disaster has told ITV News he quit his job because his safety warnings were being ignored.

Eyip Can spoke out amid growing unrest which saw tear gas and water cannons used to disperse thousands of protesters who had taken to the mining town's streets to condemn mine owners and the government following the disaster.

Anger at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan intensified with footage emerging of him apparently slapping a protester during his visit to the mine following Tuesday's fatal explosion.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports from Soma:

Read: Mine operator says cause of accident 'still not known'

Ex-safety worker at Turkish mine feared major accident

Eyip Can worked at the mine in the western Turkish town of Soma. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

A former safety worker at the Turkish mine where 284 miners were killed has told ITV News he left his job because of concerns there would be a major accident at the site.

Eyip Can, 33, said safety had deteriorated recently and he foresaw accidents happening at the mine after four deaths in six years.

Mr Can said a tunnel that was closed after methane was discovered in it had reopened after he left. He said he believes methane may have caused Tuesday's fatal explosion.

The mine operator earlier said the cause of the accident was still not known but said there was no negligence on the part of the company.

Turkey's ruling party said the mine had been inspected 11 times since 2009.

Read: Mine operator says cause of accident 'still not known'

Watch: Video 'shows Turkish PM throwing a punch during mine visit'

Tear gas fired against Turkish mine protesters in Soma

Police have fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse a crowd of several thousand protesters in the Turkish town where 284 people were killed in a mining disaster.

A Reuters witness said people scattered into side streets as police moved in after a stand-off on a shopping street in Soma, which also included the offices of the local government and labour union.

Turkish cast at Cannes show support for #Soma locals

Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2ndR), cast members Melisa Sozen (L), Haluk Bilginer (2ndL) and Demet Akbag Credit: Reuters

The cast and crew of a Turkish film featured at the Cannes Film Festival have shown their solidarity with Soma locals after 284 miners were killed in Tuesday's disaster.

Director of Winter Sleep Nuri Bilge Ceylan along side cast members Melisa Sozen, Haluk Bilginer and Demet Akbag held up signs with the Twitter hashtag #Soma during a photocall for the film.

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Gezi Park activists 'join Soma protesters against govt'

ITV News correspondent Dan Rivers has tweeted from Turkey:

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Bus loads of Gezi park protest veterans just turned back from mine - many furious at Gov't handling. Interesting alignment Occupy and #Soma

Dan_b_w_normal

#Soma t-shirt on one Gezi activist - it's becoming a political rallying cry for left and anti- government groups. http://t.co/grftRXxmRk

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Watch: Demonstrations across Turkey as Soma buries its dead

Erdogan accused of punching man during mine visit

Amateur footage has been captured apparently showing Turkey's prime minister punching a young man several times in the town where 284 people were killed in a mining disaster.

According to Today's Zaman, a crowd of protesters gathered in Soma chanting "murderer" at Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is then seen entering a local grocery store, in which an altercation takes place.

Erdogan is thought to have then attacked a man who is reported to have been chanting critical slogans at him. It follows claims that a senior adviser of the prime minister kicked a protester yesterday.

Read: Turkish PM's aide accused of kicking a protester

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