Sep 17 2018

Turkish opposition MPs say police block them entering airport construction site

Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Veli Ağbaba said on Monday that gendarmes had prevented members of parliament entering the construction site Istanbul’s third airport, where workers went on strike on last week over working conditions and job security.

"They deployed panzers between the MPs and the workers. The gendarmerie says 'working conditions are pretty good!'. When we say we want to see for ourselves, they say 'it's prohibited by the governorate'. What are you hiding? Who are you hiding it from?" Ağbaba asked on Twitter.

The workers are complaining about the number of deaths at the site and say the rush to complete the airport on schedule by Oct. 29 is compromising safety. In response to the strike that began on Friday, Turkish police and gendarmes detained 543 people, including workers and trade union representatives.

Two deputies from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Züleyha Gülüm and Erkan Baş said they were prevented from entering a police station where 380 workers were held in custody, news outlet Bianet said on Monday.

Police also detained 26 people protesting the detention of the airport workers on Saturday in Istanbul's Kadıköy district. They were all later released.

Some 2,000 workers are still on strike at the construction site, Turkish media said.