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33,000 workers died in preventable workplace accidents in 22 years: CHP spokesperson

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A spokesperson for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Monday said at least 33,000 workers had died in Turkey in preventable workplace accidents in the last 22 years, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Speaking to the press following a party meeting, Deniz Yücel highlighted the country’s workplace safety problems against the backdrop of a gold mine landslide in Erzincan that left nine workers trapped under a pile of earth potentially mixed with cyanide.

The workers remain missing since the disaster, which took place on February 13.

“Those who preach patriotism have never had any qualms about selling off our land to foreigners and putting our people’s lives at risk,” Yücel said, referring to a foreign-owned business that shares ownership of the gold mine.

Yücel also pointed out that Murat Kurum, the İstanbul mayoral candidate for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was responsible for reopening the mine in his capacity as environment minister three months after it was shut down for chemical leakage.

He also said Kurum was the one who waived an environmental impact assessment for the mine’s increase in production.

Kurum is now campaigning to get elected İstanbul mayor in local elections scheduled for March 31 as part of the AKP’s bid to take the country’s largest metropolitan municipality back from the CHP.

Turkey recorded at least 1,929 deaths in work-related accidents in 2023, according to figures provided by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG).

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.

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