Workers back from Grozny

Workers back from Grozny

Murat Şahin - ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Workers back from Grozny

Hürriyet photo, Murat ŞAHİN

Some 451 stranded Turkish construction workers celebrated their return to Turkey late Dec. 15 after the end of their ordeal in Chechnya, where they had been stranded without pay for months. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry delegated the Disaster and Emergency Presidency (AFAD) with the task of flying the workers back to Turkey. AFAD chartered three planes and the workers arrived home on the evening of Dec. 15.

 “We are victims. We have been working in tough conditions for months without wages. We want these wages to be reimbursed and we want our government to intervene on our behalf with the Chechen administration and ensure that we get what is due to us,” the workers said in a joint statement.

The 451 workers in question were employed with eight different construction companies in the autonomous Russian republic, according to daily Hürriyet.

The workers were left without money at their construction sites when their Azeri employer failed to pay their wages. 

The Chechen administration, which has been accused of staging over-extravagant parties, has not yet made any attempts to compensate the workers.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadirov celebrated his 35th birthday with a lavish bash on Oct. 5.

 Hollywood stars Jean Claude Van Dame and Hillary Swank were part of the guest list. Violinist Vanessa Mae held a concert in Kadirov’s honor, reportedly receiving $500,000. Swank also reportedly received $1.5 million for her attendance.When asked about the party following the event, Swank said her fee was paid by a Turkish construction company.