Turkish forces arrested more than 400 striking workers at the construction site of the new major airport in Istanbul. The officials used tear gas and heavy vehicles to stop the protest of several thousand workers, Özgür Karabulut of the Disk union said. Paramilitary gendarmerie forces also kicked in the doors of some workers' quarters and invaded the quarters.
According to the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, workers have been on strike since Friday. They therefore demand better working conditions. The reason for the recent demonstrations, the union was a shuttle bus accident in which on Friday 17 workers were injured. However, in social media, workers have been complaining for a long time about deaths, accidents at work, bad food and housing, and payment problems. "We are not treated like humans here," said a worker in a video broadcast by a member of the opposition party CHP.
IGA, the airport construction company, said it wanted to solve workers' problems as soon as possible. The construction workers union Insaat-Is tweeted, however, there had been no agreement.
27 deaths since start of construction Since 2015, around 35,000 workers have been working on the construction site for Istanbul's third airport. It is scheduled to open on October 29 and is considered a prestigious project for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The nameless airport is located on the Black Sea and should be the largest airport in the world in the medium term.
Turkish media had repeatedly reported in the past that there were fatal workplace accidents on the huge construction site in northern Istanbul. In February, the Turkish Ministry of Labor indicated that 27 workers had died since construction began. Reason were therefore accidents at work or health problems. Due to the destruction of large forest areas in the north of the Bosporus metropolis and the expected effects on the migration routes between Europe and Asia, the megaproject is also criticized by environmentalists.