Turkish police detain 3 İstanbul airport construction workers for protesting late shuttles

Three more workers from İstanbul’s new airport construction site were arrested on Friday because they were protesting delayed rush hour shuttles, the Evrensel daily reported on Friday.

The workers were detained Thursday evening after they started to whistle in protest of delayed shuttle buses at the construction site and were arrested the next day by a court of law. Twenty-seven airport construction workers have been arrested since a strike on Sept. 14 over poor working conditions.

On the second day of the strike, local gendarmes detained over 400 workers for gathering to protest without a permit and resisting police. Twenty-four of them were arrested on Sept. 19.

The workers previously said that an overwhelmingly high number of workplace accidents have occurred, resulting in deaths and injuries on a daily basis.

In February the Cumhuriyet daily reported that over 400 workers had died since construction started, out of some 35,000 workers hired for the project. They also complained about food and housing on the construction site, claiming that their rooms were full of bed bugs and fleas, which led a number of workers to quit.

Workers were reportedly under pressure to finish the project as soon as possible in line with the wishes of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, an impossible task according to observers given the size of the project.

According to the Turkish media, the opening of the airport could be postponed to December. When finished, İstanbul’s new airport will be the fifth largest in the world with its 77-square-kilometer airfield.

Even though it has been referred to as İstanbul’s third airport in the Turkish media, since İstanbul Atatürk Airport is scheduled to be closed to all flights on Oct. 31, the city will continue have only two airports, the other being Sabiha Gökçen.

Located on the Black Sea, it will initially have the capacity to handle around 90 million passengers per year, but that number is expected to rise to 150 million by 2023, according to AFP. To publicize the project, Erdoğan’s plane landed there in June just days before the presidential election. (turkishminute.com)

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