The unbearable easiness of getting killed in Turkey
Turkey is geographically situated in the middle of a circle of fire. Violent clashes are going on in our Middle Eastern neighbors in the name of religion and politics; our northeastern neighbor Armenia is in a war with Azerbaijan; Ukraine across the Black Sea is partly under occupation and has lost a significant portion of its land to Russia. In addition, there are armed groups inside Turkey from all across the political spectrum, which sometimes target civilians in acts of terrorism.
In such a dangerous environment, an accident yesterday showed once again that daily life in this country is no safer than being involved in clashes: A tanker truck hit an overpass on one of the main highways in Istanbul, killing one person and injuring several others.
Imagine you wake up one morning, hit the road to get to your workplace; then suddenly bam, a steel overpass collapses on you after it was hit by a truck and you are dead. It’s that easy…
Or imagine you are a 25-year-old groom, who is going to a party with your newly-wed wife on your wedding day. You enjoy one of the best days of your life until uninvited local groups interrupt your convoy’s journey to the wedding venue in order to demand money from the couple. When the situation turns ugly, your head is forced and stuck in the window of a moving car that carried the group of trouble-making money-seekers, the car hits another car and you are killed. This is how Aziz Baş was killed on Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, six people were killed in the eastern province of Siirt when they were having a picnic near a hydroelectric power plant. When the plant started production without prior warning, floods killed the six, including one child, on Aug. 24.
Also, if you are a small child traveling in a car with your mother, there is unfortunately a possibility that you will be killed when the car falls into the sea while boarding a ferryboat, because the captain is too busy to check if boarding is complete. That is how five-year-old Ece Su Yılmaz was killed on March 15, while her mother and two others were only just saved.
Death may find small children at schools, too. Efe Boz, a six-year-old kindergarten student, died in a freak accident at his school in Istanbul’s Maltepe district in 2010. Boz had gone to use the school’s washroom when the sink fell on him, smashing into pieces and cutting the child’s throat.
A photojournalist, Erkan Koyuncu, died Aug. 2, at the training facility of Galatasaray Football Club in Istanbul, when his head was accidentally caught in the facility’s front door. He sustained severe injuries and was taken to a hospital, but could not be revived.
We have many more examples of how easy it is to get killed in this country. The saddest thing is that almost nobody is indicted or punished for their responsibility in these “accidents.” The “qadar,” or predestination belief in Islam is used to explain these situations, as if Allah told his followers not to take any precautions and just follow their fate.
Precautions should be taken not only to prevent such bizarre “accidents,” but also to keep our citizens safe in such a dangerous region. If what needed to be done had been done, 49 employees of the Turkish consulate in Mosul, including Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz and two babies, would not have been in their 78th day as hostages today at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a group of murderers who do not hesitate to behead people.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday reportedly called the Istanbul governor to get information on the overpass incident. Maybe he will soon break his silence on the issue of hostages.