‘Russian roulette’ played every day by Turkish laborers

‘Russian roulette’ played every day by Turkish laborers

Being a laborer in this country means playing a compulsory game of “Russian roulette” every day.

It means knowing that the pistol will fire three to four times a day but despite this knowledge, continuing to work.

In the first two months of 2015, “at least” 211 workers lost their lives while trying to earn a living. In January, 125 workers died; in February, 86 workers were victims of “labor murders.”

While we watch the death of three to four workers on an average day, as if this was the “normal flow of life,” as if this was “in the nature of the job,” we may also bow our heads in shame and define this situation as “we have outdone ourselves,” in the blackest sarcasm. 

As a matter of fact, in the first two months of 2014, 185 workers died, or were killed in workplace accidents. This year’s figures outdo them…

A report prepared by the Istanbul Occupational Health and Safety Assembly (İSİG) reveals that worker deaths happen mostly in the construction, energy, transportation and agriculture sectors.

Killer statistics

Well, what do we do in the face of these “killer statistics” which can only be found in “very but very underdeveloped countries?”

We all look at the size of the accident, in other words, at how many workers died. Then, all of us - when I say “us” I mean the media - take a look at our own selves, then we will cover the rest.

“Individual deaths” do not draw our attention. These deaths do not even find a place for themselves in the media and consequently there is no reaction to them; thus, responsible people whistle and look far away, moving on with their lives.

Well, of course, the mighty cabinet ministers will not put on their starched white shirts and go to the site of a mine accident where only one mine worker died.

Mass deaths

We, as the media, are only after mass deaths such as the Soma mine accident, the Ermenek mine accident and the lift disaster at Mecidiyeköy; we take a look at these bloody, merciless scenes.

Only then do the “big shots” of the political world come out and visit the site and deliver speeches, which I guess all of us have memorized, then, if there are protestors around, have them beaten or beat them themselves with their bare hands before leaving with the serene feeling of having fulfilled their responsibilities.

They start their speeches with “Nobody should be worrrriiieeeddd. Nobody should worryyyy….”

They continue as such: “Whatever is necessary will be done. Whoever is responsible will be punished with the heaviest of penalties. All possible support will be given to the families of the victims.”

Daily Russian roulette

Then, we all know what happens next, right?

First, some people are caught and detained. Then, they are released. Arrangements are made which are never followed up and controlled.

Court cases (indeed, if they were able to be opened) are dragged within the justice system for years.
When you type “protests or rebellion of worker families and friends” in a popular web search engine, 2,250,000 results appear. We can be sure there are more. 

Today, again, Russian roulette will be played. That dreadful pistol, the one that we can actually silence, will fire three or four times today…

Let’s not call it “the nature of the job” again; let us not allow others to say that. Let us hear it, let us see it, let us be human and focus on finding solutions, seriously.