In the first nine months of 2023, Turkey has recorded at least 1,409 deaths in work-related accidents, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG).
According to İSİG, 151 people died in workplace accidents in Turkey in September. There were 203 workplace deaths in August, 183 in July, 161 in June, 146 in May, 124 in April, 130 in March, 195 in February and 116 in January.
Of the deaths, 261 occurred in the construction sector, 259 in agriculture and forestry and 171 in transportation.
People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence. In the worst work-related accident in the country’s history, 301 miners lost their lives in an explosion in Manisa’s Soma district in May 2014.
According to İSİG, more than 30,000 work-related accidents have taken place since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002.
İSİG General Coordinator Murat Çakır had earlier said the reason for the record number of fatalities in work-related accidents has to do with the policies of the AKP, which he said aim to turn Turkey into a source of cheap labor for Europe.
According to Çakır, workers feel obliged to work under unsafe conditions fearing that they will become jobless and unable to support their families.
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.