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At least 2,500 young workers died in occupational accidents in a decade: report

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Turkey has recorded at least 2,500 deaths in work-related accidents since 2013, according to a report by the Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Most of the fatal workplace accidents occurred in the construction sector, accounting for 26 percent of the incidents, followed by agriculture and forestry, which made up 17 percent.

İSİG defines young workers as those between 18 and 25 years of age.

The most frequent causes of death were traffic accidents, which accounted for 590 deaths, falling from heights with 407 fatalities and crushing incidents with 385.

Among the total deaths, 260 were migrant workers, with over 52 percent from Syria and 31 percent from Afghanistan.

People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence. İSİG reported nearly 2,000 work-related deaths in 2023.

According to the group, more than 30,000 occupational 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.

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