Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Fethi Açıkel has announced that at least 40 child workers in Turkey lost their lives, in the first eight months of the year, citing figures from the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.
In a statement concerning Zekai Dikici, a 16-year-old high school student who died when he fell from the fifth floor of a building under construction where he was working, Açıkel said an average of 60 child worker deaths a year have been recorded since 2002 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power.
“Unfortunately, one-third of these children were younger than 14,” Açıkel said.
Açıkel added that, while business owners and industrialists keep complaining of a labor shortage and the unwillingness of vocational high school graduates to work, they fail to take safety precautions.
İSİG began to record occupational fatalities in 2011. The platform also records the number of workers who died due to the lack of work safety in past years in addition to campaigning for stricter measures to maintain safety in workplaces.
A yearly report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on labor rights reveals that Turkey is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for working people. According to the Brussels-based ITUC, workers’ freedoms and rights continued to be relentlessly denied with police crackdowns on protests in Turkey in 2022.