Following the tragic death of a university student in an elevator accident in a state-run dormitory on October 26, media reports have drawn attention to nine elevator accidents in the last 10 days in dormitories across Turkey.
According to reporting by the Birgün daily, accidents and technical problems in elevators in state-run dormitories are worryingly common. In some cases, elevators were suspended between floors, while in other incidents elevators dropped several floors causing injuries. Students said the main reason for elevator accidents was negligence as the equipment was not properly maintained.
On Sunday evening two students were suspended between floors in a dormitory in Muş province. One of the students, who suffers from chronic asthma, was hospitalized after being rescued from the elevator.
Hundreds of students protested against the Turkish Higher Education Credit and Hostels Institution (KYK) in front of the dormitory the same day, demanding better maintenance of dormitory buildings and technical equipment.
“After the death of a student, we were very worried about the condition of elevators in our building, but the dorm administration assured us they had been maintained. But apparently, they were not well maintained, and accidents are still happening. We want to live in decent conditions,” said one student.
Zeren Ertaş died on Thursday after the elevator in the Güzelhisar dormitory in Aydın, in which 16 people were riding, fell from the upper floors. Ertaş reportedly got stuck and died while trying to get out of the elevator.
Students from Aydın Adnan Menderes University staged a sit-in in the city square, arguing in a public statement that the fatal incident was a result of negligence on the dormitory management’s part and not an accident. They stated that similar incidents had happened before and that they had warned management several times about the elevator.
While authorities have claimed that all necessary maintenance work has been carried out, activists have called for proper inspections and decent living conditions for students.