Turkish employer gets away with a mere fine of 12,000 liras in case of worker's death

A Turkish court has imposed a mere fine of 12,000 liras on an employer after he forced one of his staff to clean the sewage without any precautions, eventually leading to the worker's death due to an infection.

This file photo shows contract cleaner Zafer Açıkgözoğlu who lost his life.

Duvar English 

A scandalous decision was made in the case of 26-year-old Zafer Açıkgözoğlu who died after contracting an infection while working at Istanbul University Çapa Medical Faculty. 

As a contract cleaner, Açıkgözoğlu was forced to clean up the sewer water that exploded at the Medical Faculty in 2013. Despite his objections, Açıkgözoğlu was made to work without the relevant company providing protective safety measures and the necessary equipment as well as training. 

The infection caused a liver failure, and the subcontracted lost his life despite an organ transplant.

According to reporting by daily Yeni Yaşam, the case was taken to the court, which found the subcontractor Doğuş Social Services firm guilty on charges of "causing death by negligence."

However, the court sentenced Cafer Erdoğan, the manager of the firm, to a mere two years in prison, and changed the sentence to a monetary fine of 12,100 liras on the grounds that he felt "remorse."

Açıkgözoğlu had written a letter to his colleagues before he died. “I know you'll cry behind my back for two days and forget the third day. You will go on with your life as if nothing had happened. Like the 1,500 workers who die every year before me. Like the 301 miners who died in Soma,” he had said in the letter.