We must change our nonpecuniary damage law

We must change our nonpecuniary damage law

After a recent elevator accident in which 10 people died, the subject of work safety has been discussed out loud in Turkey. We do speak, but unfortunately we forget what we speak, and to start speaking again, another terrific accident must happen.

It is already too late to take further safety measures for “work accidents,” which we must call “murder” due to their misconduct and frequency, however.

Work safety is a basic subject of inspection, and application of the results of the inspections. There are thousands of work places where works deemed “risky” are conducted. Works with dangerous chemicals, on high-rise buildings, in underground mines, on docks and other works conducted with sharp and piercing materials…

Tens of thousands of these places are inspected, and their faults and dangers are later controlled by only a few thousand inspectors. This is an impossible job.

Of course, work inspectors perform an important job, but it isn’t easy for them to change every risky work environment in the country. The work safety inspections and controls should be bolstered by factors other than work inspectors.

There are “work safety agencies.” They are corporations themselves. Other companies hire these agencies, and they allegedly inspect and control work safety measures. It has been confirmed that this system does not work due to its inadequacy, and it also causes a balance of interests. The most important point of work safety should be a clash of interests between the inspector and the inspected.

With a bill enacted at the start of the year, the Undersecretariat of Treasury mandated that working places with risky jobs have obligatory assurance. It is a useful precaution. The assurance company must inspect the work place in order to provide assurance and will not do so if it seems inapplicable or raises its bonus. The places without assurance would not be able to operate.

Unfortunately, implementation has only begun in the chemistry sector. I hoped it would have started in the construction sector. Still, the assurance alone is not enough to solve this problem.

We have to change our nonpecuniary damage law, from scratch. Let’s not get lost in details, but the basis of the law is “the principle of impoverishment of the party that was charged for compensation, and the enrichment of the party who is receiving that compensation”

I suggested to change this law after the serial murder in Soma too.

This means giving the authority to Courts to force high compensation from the employers who cause such work murders. With higher compensations, the bonuses of these working places would also increase, and the assurance inspections would be guaranteed.

Democratization is impossible with such judges

There are no categorical differences between the judges who opened the famous Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) cases, and the judges who accuse the members of Beşiktaş’s popular fan group, çArşı, of “attempting to overthrow the government with an armed rebellion” during Gezi the protests.

The accusation of journalists and legitimate politicians as being “separatist terrorists” proves how far Turkey still is from the ideas of “democracy” and “freedom of thought” – as far as accusing democratic rights protestors of a “coup d’état.”

What is the point of accusing these protestors of a “coup against the government,” when you could find the suspects and vandals if you had enough to prove their actions instead?

Will Turkey be democratized with such judges? Are we going to go ahead with the “solution process” while this ideology is still in place, and say, “Say what you want in politics instead of arming yourselves?”

What a contradiction…