Deadly fire in Istanbul ‘not accident but destiny,’ says Turkish Labor Minister

Deadly fire in Istanbul ‘not accident but destiny,’ says Turkish Labor Minister

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Deadly fire in Istanbul ‘not accident but destiny,’ says Turkish Labor Minister

A total of 11 workers were killed inside tents at the construction site of a shopping mall in Esenyurt on March 11. Six people were arrested in connection with the fire. AA photo

Labor Minister Faruk Çelik has said the fire at a construction site that killed 11 workers was fate.

“We cannot call it an accident, it would not have happened if ssafety precautions had been taken,” Çelik told reporters yesterday. “It was [the workers’] fate.”

 Çelik added that his ministry was working on an “almost perfect” draft law on occupational safety, just a day after an Istanbul court issued warrants for the arrest six suspects in connection with the fire on March 11.

“Now we should put the almost perfect Occupational Health Safety Law into effect for all employees... There is no reason why we should not take it on in April,” Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik told journalists yesterday.

Minister Çelik also said the government is not trying to cover anything up with respect to the fire that broke out at a construction site in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district, and that all those responsible for the disastrous accident would be brought to justice.

A total of 11 workers were killed inside tents at the construction site of the new Marmara Park shopping mall in Esenyurt on March 11. The blaze reportedly started in one of the tents at around 9 p.m. and quickly swept through the entire site, engulfing the workers in their sleep.

A court in Istanbul subsequently ruled to arrest the owner of the Kaldem construction company, Abdullah Altun, construction supervisor Erdal Gümüş, electric technician Şaban Bakırcı, work safety coordinator Cem Yıllar, field engineer Hikmet Tezcan and foreman Kadir Altun, who were all taken to Metris Prison. The court also arrested but later released five other suspects.

The defendants denied all the charges leveled against them, while Yıllar claimed he had warned the company’s owners about a number of problems he had identified, such as the lack of exit doors in tents and the excessive load on electrical systems. Officials who investigated the site announced that the tents were not made from fire-resistant material and lacked exit doors on both sides.

Turkey