Coal is Turkey’s most exploited indigenous source of energy. Since Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.) first came into power, in 2002, it has been a cornerstone of their breakneck development. Umud Dalgıç, a sociologist with the Heinrich Boll Foundation, in Istanbul, said that the government sees coal as “essential for the growth of the country.” Coal, he argued, has come to symbolize the A.K.P.’s relationship with “average” Turks—whether that be miners who have found jobs in places like Soma and Kozlu, or poorer citizens who need cheap fuel to heat their homes. Working-class voters, like the miners, are essential to the popularity of Erdoğan and the A.K.P. During campaigns, Dalgıç added, some A.K.P. politicians have been known to hand out coal to the party’s supporters, along with food staples.