Turkey protest horror lift deaths
Hundreds have protested in Istanbul a day after 10 workers were killed when a lift crashed to the ground from the 32nd storey of a building.
“This is not an accident, this is murder!” the crowd of up to 1000 people, angry at Turkey’s abysmal workplace safety record, shouted as they gathered near the construction site in Istanbul on Sunday.
Authorities said an investigation had been launched into the incident at the Torunlar Centre, which is being built on the former site of Galatasaray football club’s Ali Sami Yen stadium.
Police on Sunday released eight people detained in connection with the incident, including the safety director of the site, after hearing their testimonies.
Thirty-six of the tower’s 42 floors have already been completed, local media reported.
The exact cause of the accident remains unclear, but there have been claims that the elevator broke down two weeks ago and workers were awaiting funds to repair it.
Labour and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik said the accident happened after a freight elevator workers used to carry construction materials derailed, with workers and building materials crashing to the ground.
“We will go after (the guilty people) if there is any negligence or shortcoming,” he was quoted as saying by Turkish media.
The building’s owner Aziz Torun denied any responsibility, as well as the possibility of a technical problem with the elevator.
“I used the same elevator 10 days ago,” Torun told a press conference.
“The elevator is supposed to carry both people and materials. It can carry 2700 kilos of freight or 28 people.”
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the workers’ deaths “very painful and very saddening”.
Turkey has the world’s third highest rate of deadly workplace accidents, according to the International Labour Organisation.