Nearly 30,000 workers died in work-related accidents during AKP rule: İSİG

Turkey has recorded 29,801 deaths in work-related accidents since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002, Turkish Minute reportedciting the findings of a Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG) report.

According to İSİG data, another 649 workers have also died by suicide in the past nine years.

İSİG General Coordinator Murat Çakır said the reason for the record number of deaths in work-related accidents was linked to AKP policies, which he said are aimed at making Turkey a source of cheap labor for Europe.

“Look, such massacres don’t happen even in times of war. During the Soma mining disaster, 301 miners lost their lives. … This is class warfare,” Çakır said.

In the worst work accident in the country’s history, 301 miners died in an explosion at a mine in Soma district of Manisa, western Turkey, in May 2014.

İSİG started recording the number of workers who died in work accidents in 2011. The platform also records the number of workers who died due to lack of workplace safety in recent years, in addition to campaigning for stricter measures to maintain safety in the workplace.

According to Çakır, workers feel compelled to work in unsafe conditions, fearing becoming unemployed and unable to support their families.

Having a job is more important than ever for Turks these days, as the country is suffering from a dramatic increase in the cost of living with inflation at over 80%.

People have suffered for decades from lax workplace safety standards in Turkey, where accidents at work are almost daily.

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Maria D. Ervin