Three dead after concrete block collapse traps workers in Turkey’s Kocaeli

A large concrete block fell during the construction of a highway viaduct in northwest Turkey, killing three workers
Thursday, 29 November 2018 01:47

Three workers died after a concrete block collapsed during the construction of a bridge in Turkey’s Kocaeli province on Wednesday. Five were trapped, and rescue crews were able to pull out one worker alive after efforts.

The incident took place near the Tavşanlı village, where a viaduct is under construction for the Northern Marmara Highway. The concrete block to be placed 30 meters above the ground collapsed with five workers on top who were working on its installment. The injured worker was recovered from the rubbles and taken to a nearby hospital.

AKP government has imposed a broadcast ban on the news about the work-related deaths. It is known that the North Marmara Highway is being constructed by Limak-Cengiz and Kolin-Kalyon Joint Venture Groups having strong ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP government. Thus, this joint venture group is significantly privileged in many public tenders including the construction of the new airport in Istanbul, and protected by the AKP in its involvement in corruption and fraud activities.

Nusret Suna, Istanbul Branch Chairperson of the Chamber of Civil Engineers, said regarding the work-related accident that "Occupational safety is neglected in order to complete the construction immediately. Sub-contractor firms undertaking this work give it to many sub-supply companies. It is quite questionable whether these sub-supply companies are competent for these jobs or not."


In her statement after the disaster in Gebze, Arzu Çerkezoğlu, the Chairperson of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), also noted, "Mega projects of the political power and the privileged companies are killing [workers]."

Saying that the collapsed viaduct is the last ring of the successive crimes committed in the "mega projects," Çerkezoğlu stated, "The first information shows the cause of the murder is the manufacturing defect and forcing workers to work long hours for the rapid progress of the construction."

"This imposition on workers to forcibly work to complete the construction as soon as possible and the subcontracting system we encounter in every occupational murder are also seen in ‘the mega projects’ in even more cruel ways; the projects expected to be completed early due to political pressures claim lives. A certain number of companies that managed to win tenders in every mega project are committing crimes with the guarantee of immunity shield given by the political power," she underlined.

"Every steps, arrestments and broadcast bans to protect these companies, which are exempted from tax, punishment, investigation and accountability, are also unlawful and inhumane," Çerkezoğlu said.