One hundred fifty-seven people died in occupational accidents in Turkey in September, according to statistics released by the Occupational Safety and Health Assembly (İSİGM), bringing total workplace deaths thus far this year to 1,450.
A total of 2,006 people were killed in workplace accidents in Turkey in 2017. By comparison, according to the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) organization, 454 fatal occupational accidents were registered in Germany in 2017 among 42 million workers compared to 26 million official workers in Turkey.
There have been 21,894 people killed in workplace accidents in Turkey under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it came to power in 2002. However, the figures published by the Ministry of Labor are significantly lower.
According to İSİG statistics, 10 out of the 157 workers killed at workplaces in September were women, and another eight were children between the ages of four and fourteen. A total of nine workers killed were refugees or migrants from Afghanistan (6), Iran (1), Russia (1) and Syria (1).
The city with the most frequent workplace fatalities last month was Gaziantep, situated on the border with Syria, with 11 deaths. According to official data, almost 326,000 refugees live in the province, most of them from Syria. More than half of them are underage.
In total, more than 3,5 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey, most of whom have no residence permit and therefore no work permit. Although about 80,000 Syrians have residence permits, only 6,000 can work legally. As a result, many refugees work illegally and are not registered, with the result that no reliable statistics exist for refugees killed on the job.
The children of many refugee families work under dangerous conditions to support their families. In the textile workshops of Gaziantep, 5 to 10-year-old children often work for a daily wage of TL 5, the equivalent of about 71 cents.