19 young people from Van died in work accidents on construction sites

Hundreds of Kurdish youth lost their lives every year due to the AKP's economic embargo policies in Kurdistan. In the first 7 months of 2023, 19 young people from Van died in accidents on construction sites.

Kurdish young people are forced to work in construction sites where there is no occupational safety and control. They continue to be victims of work murders. The economic embargo imposed by the AKP in Kurdistan results in unemployment and poverty that are costing the lives of Kurdish young people. In particular, in Kurdistan cities such as Van, Muş, Agrî and Îdir, tens of thousands of young people go to the metropolitan cities of Turkey to work in construction sites every year.

Van is one of the cities under the AKP's special economic embargo. Due to the embargo, border trade was banned in Van, and livestock and agriculture were brought to the point of extinction. Following the state’s appointment of trustees in district municipalities, including Van Metropolitan Municipality, thousands of people were dismissed. The AKP's economic practices caused unemployment and poverty to reach 80 percent.

The economic crisis caused the collapse of the economy and unemployment and poverty grew exponentially. Because of this, thousands of young people were forced to migrate.

In 2022, at least 56 workers from Van who migrated to Turkish cities and worked in the construction sector lost their lives as a result of accidents in the sites. Most of the workers were killed as a result of falling from heights.

In the first seven months of 2023, at least 19 workers lost their lives in occupational homicides.

Some of the workers who lost their lives are as follows:

* On 14 August, 2023, Ayhan Gürbüz (35), registered to the population of the neighbourhood of Hevirzong in Erdîş, fell from a height in the construction site he was working in Istanbul and lost his life.

* Yunus Tam, a construction worker from Van working in Malatya, died on 31 July when the scaffolding collapsed at the construction site he was working on.

*Veli Çelik died in Istanbul on 3 July, after falling from the scaffolding of the construction site he was working on.

* On 28 June, Mirkan Bingöl, who was working in a construction site in Tekirdağ Çorlu district, fell from the 9th floor and died.

* Father of three, Şakir Yılmaz (42) registered in the Anzaf population of Van's Bêgir (Muradiye) district, died on 26 June after falling from a construction site in Antalya's Manavgat district.


According to ISIG, the Health and Safety Labour Observatory, at least 1843 work murders were registered in 2022.

Some of the highlights of the ISIG report are as follows:

Agriculture, construction, service and industry sectors
There are the sectors where work-related murders are concentrated (953 worker deaths). Construction, agriculture and transportation, where "precarious work" prevails. In these sectors, where long working hours, intensive work, uninsured work and all kinds of irregularities prevail, union organization is either non-existent or weak and clustered in certain professions.

In construction, falls from heights such as exterior scaffolding, roofs, elevator shafts, etc. account for more than half of the deaths, while the other two main causes are crushing and electric shocks.

On the other hand, the main causes of deaths are the use of inappropriate means of transportation -especially during the journey of seasonal agricultural workers to the regions where they work or to the fields-, worn-out tractors, inadequate shelter-resting-cleaning areas, tick bites, etc.

The third sector with the highest number of worker deaths is transportation. Intense work, mobbing, long working hours, unsuitable roads and vehicles, irregular nutrition and sleep, etc. invite work-related murders. While traffic accidents account for 75 percent of deaths, another important cause is heart attacks due to stressful working conditions.

In 2022, deaths of riders stand out in our reports as a profession where deaths have increased for these reasons. The clearest result in terms of worker health in the sector, which is gradually expanding with the pandemic and where the worker profile is mostly in their early 20s, is obvious: In 2022, at least 55 moto couriers lost their lives in occupational murders.

Another station for death is near the solid waste workers. There is an urgent need to intensify organizing activities in this sector, where uninsured, unhealthy conditions and child, migrant and elderly labor are intense, and where workers work indefinite hours for a pittance.

On the other hand, although the deaths in the industrial sectors are not in the top three, it is necessary to underline the fact that there are many different sectors of industry (mining, metal, energy, textile, chemistry, food, etc.). In fact, when we take the sum of these sectors, "the highest number of deaths by sector" occurs in industry. The consequences of de-unionization are especially evident and the deaths of young workers are increasing.

Let us remind you lastly while mentioning the sectors of labor: On October 14, 2022, forty-two miners lost their lives in a firedamp explosion at the Amasra TIM of the Turkish Hard Coal Corporation in Amasra, Bartın due to the lack of occupational health and safety measures. A new one was added to the Karadon, Elbistan, Kozlu, Soma, Ermenek, Şırnak mine massacres.