Sep 15 2018

Police raids new Istanbul airport site, detains over 500 strikers

Turkish police and gendarmes launched an operation in the construction site of Istanbul’s third airport on Saturday morning and detained 543 people, including workers and trade union representatives, who commenced a strike to protest deaths and poor working conditions on Friday.

An accident of two shuttle buses on Wednesday leaving 17 workers injured sparked the strike of builders, who since yesterday share details of their lethal working conditions, including growing number of workplace fatalities and accidents, as authorities rush to open Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s mega-project on Oct. 29.

The police and gendarmes entered the dorms of the workers by breaking doors on Saturday and detained workers whose names were on a list handed to them, the Union of Construction Workers said on Twitter.

The union first said 400 workers were detained, however the number of detainees was later updated as 543.

Police on Saturday intervened on a group of protestors supporting the airport workers in İstanbul's Kadıköy district. Five people were detained according to a representative of the İnşaat-İş Union, among them union representative Kadir Kurt and AFP reporter Bülent Kılıç.

Around 2,000 workers continue the strike in the construction site, Evrensel newspaper said. The union on Friday released a list of demands needed to be met for ending the strike. 



List of demand - Third Airport

Poor working conditions and negligent management exposed as a result of the strike created an outcry on Turkish social media, with many calling opposition parties to support the workers.

“Which opposition deputies elected by our votes are with workers right now at the third airport’s construction,” one user asked on Twitter.

Another one said only one deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was at the construction site, while the party’s provincial organisation was at a training camp in İstanbul’s Sarıyer district, a place close to the third airport.