Constructor company of Istanbul skyscraper ‘sponsor of AKP,’ HDP co-chair says

Constructor company of Istanbul skyscraper ‘sponsor of AKP,’ HDP co-chair says

Constructor company of Istanbul skyscraper ‘sponsor of AKP,’ HDP co-chair says

People's Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş (C) talks to journalists during a demonstration on Sept. 8, following the death of ten workers at a construction site in Istanbul when an elevator carrying them suddenly plunged to the ground from the 32th floor late on Sept. 6. AFP Photo / Ozan Köse

The company constructing a skyscraper where 10 workers were killed after an elevator plunged from the 32nd floor has backing from the government, the co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has said.

“Just be for once human enough to say ‘to hell with these towers – if only none of my workers had died’ as a boss. But you have lost your conscience to the point that while workers are being murdered so that you can earn more money and live in fancier yachts or flats, you say ‘we won’t let the name of our company be stained,’” Demirtaş said Sept. 8 after visiting the site of the accident.

“These towers are like gravestones for mass graves,” he added, denouncing the government’s attempt to evade any thorough investigation regarding the conditions of workers.

The site in Istanbul’s lucrative Mecidiyeköy neighborhood had been granted to the constructor, Torunlar, by the Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) following the demolition of Galatasaray’s Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

Demirtaş argued that the company’s unapologetic attitude following the incident was due to their closeness to the government.

“These gentlemen are the sponsor of the AKP. They have a solid backing. So why would they spend money on workers’ safety?” Demirtaş said.

Workers have accused company officials of ignoring their warnings about technical glitches regarding the elevator for more than two months. For its part, the company laid the blame on the firm that built the lift and even the workers themselves.

Demirtaş compared the government’s stance with the one it adopted after the May 13 mining disaster in Soma that claimed 301 lives. “The government says ‘We will investigate the incident and take measures if there are shortcomings’ as if there was a labor murder for the first time. Didn’t you make the same brazen-faced statements after Soma?” Demirtaş asked.

Not 'accident' but 'killing'

Meanwhile, Tte main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group head Akif Hamzaçebi said not only the company is responsible for the killings, but also the government who avoided using the word “killing” by using the word “accident.” For his part, CHP Istanbul deputy İhsan Özkes slammed the ministers for calling the workers “martyrs,” saying that officials are trying to remove their responsibilities over the killings.

Yusuf Halaçoğlu, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said the crime should be punished, demanding a detailed parliament inspection over the incident.

Demir Çelik, the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) Muş deputy, strongly condemned the accident and accused the government for failing to take the necessary measures to protect the safety and rights of the workers.