Owner of factory where child worker was killed fined 30,000 liras
ADANA – Doğan News Agency
Ahmet Yıldız died on March 15 from heavy injuries sustained after his head was caught in a pressing machine. DHA photoThe owner of a manufacturing plant in the southern province of Adana, where a 13-year-old child worker died after being caught in a pressing machine six months ago, has been sentenced to a fine of 30,000 Turkish Liras by a local court Oct. 9.
The prosecutors demanded six years in prison for the owner, Ali Koç, on claims of reckless killing. The court sentenced Koç to five years in prison, before reducing it to four years and two months. The jail sentence was then switched to a fine of 30 liras, to be paid in a 24-month installment due to the owner’s financial situation.
At only 13 years of age, Ahmet Yıldız worked at the factory located in Adana’s Yüreğir district every day after school for 100 liras (around $50) per week. He died on March 15 from heavy injuries sustained after his head was caught in a pressing machine.
Yıldız’s relatives said that they did not know their child was doing heavy-duty labor at the factory. “We thought he was bringing cups of tea and cleaning the place. It seems that they put him in charge of the pressing machine,” said his brother, Tahir Yıldız.
Thanks to the weekly wage, Ahmet Yıldız, the youngest of seven children, was able to pay for his school expenses, his brother added.
In his testimony, Koç said he was told that Ahmet was 16 years old and did not suspect he could be younger.
“A relative came and said that [Ahmet’s] father went bankrupt and he needed to work. He said that he was 16. So I could not resist and hired him,” Koç said confirming that Yıldız’s main task was cleaning the place and bringing cups of tea.
“He attempted to take the sample that was [inside the pressing machine] although it wasn't his job,” Koç told the court, adding that he had not been able to afford a better machine.
The father Mustafa Yıldız said after the sentence that he was withdrawing his complaint. “God gave me my son, God took it. That’s his fate. What can I say to God’s will? I am not filing a complaint,” Yıldız said.
Child labor in Turkey is still an unfortunate reality and many minors are employed in factories and plantations, particularly as seasonal workers.