Berdan Dere is a father, who spends all his energy for the victims of earthmoving trucks, concrete mixers, after his daughter has been removed from life with an earthmoving truck belonging to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. After death of his daughter, Şule İdil Dere on 12 May 2016, Berdan Dere is seeking for ‘justice’ not only for his daughter, but for all such deaths and says “first conscience”, “then justice”.

Sultan Özer

There is a proverb in Anatolia that “an ember burns where it falls.” But this time Berdan Dere makes an effort for the ember to ‘burn’ not only where it falls but everywhere. After the death of his daughter Şule İdil Dere on 12 May 2016, in İstanbul Kadıköy Yoğurtçu Park, by an earthmoving truck belonging to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Berdan Dere dedicated himself to the investigation of these deaths. Since 2016, he has been keeping tally of these deaths, warns the authorities, the public, and the judicial offices, saying “first conscience” and then wants “justice”. However, impunity for these deaths also brings about new deaths.

HE REPORTS THE DEATHS

Berdan Dere investigates and reports this sort of accidents not only in İstanbul but all over Turkey and calls for “conscience and justice.” According to the last report of Berdan Dere, number of deaths caused by concrete mixers and earthmoving trucks has increased about 80 per cent in 2018. There occurred 253 deaths and 943 injuries just only in 2018. In his four part report that he announced in January, Berdan Dere says “In the second part of the report, we have focused on deaths in İstanbul, where we have lost 67 people by concrete mixers and earthmoving trucks after İdil and Özge’s death in 2016. Although there is stagnation in construction sector, just only in İstanbul, concrete mixers and earthmoving trucks have caused death of 22 people in 2018.”

We want to talk about what he had experienced after his daughter’s death, his feelings, his daughter, his family, but he does not want to lead in to these issues by saying that “I think personal assessments cause the audience to move away from the main subject.” However, we want to address at least emotions and consciences in this issue, in which insensitivity has reached an extreme level, and to emphasize the importance of the issue.

HE EXPLAINED HIS DAUGHTER’S DEATH

Berdan Dere told his daughter, her death and the judicial process for Halagazeteciyiz.net:

İdil was born on 20 July 1993 in Kadıköy, İstanbul. She graduated from Haydarpaşa High School in 2011; she registered to International Relationships Department in Koç University and stayed there for two years as a full scholarship student between 2011 and 2013. She left there and registered to Faculty of Economics (English) in İstanbul University (2013-2016) and Barcelona University (2014-2015 with Erasmus Program). She was a successful student.

When she was in 3rd year student, on May 12, 2016, she was dead in an accident called murder, which was caused by a municipal truck, belonging to İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, carrying slime from Kurbağalıdere on pedestrian bicycle road area in İstanbul/Kadıköy Yoğurtçu Park.

When this happened, İdil was returning home passing through the Yoğurtçu Park. With a phone call from police, I was invited to police office related to İdil, I learnt it in police office. İdil was dead in Kurbağalıdere-Yoğurtçu Park pedestrian-bicycle road, a pedestrianized zone, where any of life safety measures were not taken, by an earthmoving truck belonging to IMM (İBB).

THE FACTS REFLECTED TO PROSECUTION INVESTIGATION

At the prosecutorial pre-indictment, it has been understood that the work was planned by İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and carried out with İSTAÇ AŞ, the pedestrian-bicycle road where pedestrian traffic is crowded was defined as evacuation route of earthmoving truck, and risk assessment and pedestrian safety measures which were compulsory for the work were not taken. Earthmoving trucks were entering the pedestrian road with reverse action and along the 400 meters, working without seeing their back and without any signs. Although the risks occurred during work process were reported to managers by groundsmen, life safety measures were not taken and the last life safety warning was reported to IMM officials, a day before İdil’s death.

That way was not the only way for carrying excavation from Kurbağalıdere site. A week after İdil’s death, slime extracted from Kurbağalıdere area was evacuated by sea. When Kurbağalıdere work started, IMM didn’t take any of the life safety measures including a signboard. After İdil’s death, IMM took life safety measure by enclosing the entire working site with cover.

THE DRIVER WAS RELEASED, THOSE RESPONSIBLE WERE PROMOTED

İdil had not been buried yet, when the driver was released. IMM did not carry out any administrative investigation about any responsible for the work leading to death so far. 11 days after İdil’s death, 3 senior officials, who were charged of planning and managing the work were promoted.  Mustafa Tahmaz, who signed and managed the work, Head of Department of Environmental Control and Protection in IMM, was promoted to Supervisory Department; Fuat Alarçin, Manager of Marine Services was promoted to Department of Environmental Control and Protection; Ali Eker Deniz, sub manager of Marine Services was promoted to Management of Marine Services.

According to expert reports, prepared during the prosecutorial pre-indictment, IMM and senior officials were found primarily negligent and responsible. Among these primarily negligent, there was Mustafa Tahmaz, who was promoted to IMM Supervisory Department just 11 days after İdil’s death.

UNLAWFULLY PREPARED REPORT

The Prosecution Office appealed to Governor for the prosecution of 11 IMM officials. The Governorship demanded an inspector from IMM Supervisory Department where ‘the primarily negligent’ Mustafa Tahmaz is the chief. The inspector prepared a report for his ‘primarily negligent’ manager, Head of Supervisory Department claiming that he has no ‘responsibility’. This report was filed to the Governorship with approval of Mustafa Tahmaz, primarily negligent Manager of Supervisory Department. The Governorship accepted this unlawfully prepared report and did not let 8 of the 11 IMM officials, including primarily negligent, to be judged.

Regional Administrative Court in İstanbul approved this Governorship decision, based on the unlawfully prepared report.

THOSE ACTUALLY RESPONSIBLE WERE EXCLUDED

After main responsible were left out of the judiciary process, only 4 people; 3 inferior officials from IMM and the driver from İSTAÇ AŞ; were sued.

IMM and İSTAÇ AŞ accused each other, both claiming that “we are not responsible for safety measures” on the first trial, started after 20 months, on 17 December 2017. In second trial, they made a common defense and accused İdil. In third trial, the Lawyer of İSTAÇ AŞ accused İdil and said that “Our Municipality is falling into disrepute.” In fourth trial, the officials of IMM and İSTAÇ AŞ, were found primarily responsible and negligent again according to the fourth expert report, that was prepared with the demand of the court. In fifth trial, the defendant IMM and İSTAÇ AŞ officials objected to fourth expert report, where both they and their senior executors were found responsible and negligent.

In sixth trial, on November 16, 2018, defense barristers couldn’t make objection to the evidences in the report, but they accused the experts who did not find İdil faulty. Lawyer of İSTAÇ said “The experts who don’t find the decedent faulty are either ignorant or have evil intentions against IMM.”

In seventh trial on January 4, 2019, it has been mentioned by defendant declaration that, the decision of who is being judged based on preliminary survey report has been prepared according to the directives from senior management of IMM, not depending on investigation and evidences and negligent senior managers of IMM were being excluded from juridical process. The case was resent to the commission of experts, although there were four complementary expert reports which find IMM primarily responsible.

3 IMM officials (Control Officer from Environmental Protection and Control Department, Field Manager of IMM, Geomatic Engineer Field Manager of IMM) and 4 officials from İSTAÇ AŞ (General Director of İSTAÇ AŞ, Director of Marine Services of İSTAÇ AŞ, Asian Side Coastal Cleaning Chief of İSTAÇ Marine Services, İSTAÇ AŞ Occupational Health and Safety Expert) and the driver from İSTAÇ are on trial.

PRICE FOR A LIFE IS IMPRISONMENT FOR 2-6 YEARS

According to article 85/1 of the Turkish Penal Code, a prison sentence of between only 2-6 years is requested for “causing manslaughter.” The 8th trial is going to be heard in 57th Criminal Court of İstanbul Anadolu Court House, on April 10, 2019.

‘GRIEF IS NOT ONLY OURS’

Berdan Dere told about the reporting process of deaths as follows: “After İdil’s death in 2016, we are watching closer the earthmoving truck and concrete mixer murders and we are preparing reports about these, sharing reports with the public by social media and government officials in order to make safety measures to be taken. While we are watching these murders, we realized that this grief is not only ours but it is a widespread disaster that hurts and disables people in 63 provinces.”

‘A SERIOUS SCENE’

Berdan Dere follows and notes these deaths all the year round and states that they are having difficulties in following the cases because of “Censor in press, insufficient explanations and the lack of case pursuance.” “We have published 2016-2017 and 2018 reports starting from the day we lost İdil. In 2018 report, we realized that the scene was more severe than 2017.” he says.

Berdan Dere states that there has been a 80 percent increase in loss of life in accidents caused by earthmoving trucks and concrete mixers in entire Turkey.

“We have lost 253 people in accidents caused by earthmoving trucks and concrete mixers in 2018, 943 people were injured. We have focused on deaths in İstanbul, where we have lost 67 people by concrete mixers and earthmoving trucks after İdil and Özge’s (Özge Kandemir) death in 2016. Only in İstanbul, concrete mixers and earthmoving trucks have caused death of 22 people in 2018, despite the stagnation in construction sector.

We have tried to unroll another serious conclusion in the final part of our report:

In 2018, 274 people died by service vehicles and infrastructure works during the direct public service supply. 253 deaths, which were caused by earthmoving trucks + concrete mixers those were officially let to serve and allowed in traffic, were excluded from this number. In other words, in 2018, totally 514 people died under the responsibility and control of public institutions during the service supply.”

THE PARLIAMENT IS INSENSITIVE TO THESE DEATHS

Berdan Dere replies the insensitivity of the Parliament in those words: “5 parliamentary questions were given about İdil’s death; numbers of parliamentary questions were given to Assembly of IMM. None of these were responded. Because the responsibility of governmental officials is wanted to be hidden.”

Translation: Ekin Değirmenci