Briefing on the Istanbul airport strikes


20 September 2018

Worker protests at the new Istanbul airport highlight the nature of the political and economic challenges facing the Turkish government  

  • Workers have briefly halted construction at Istanbul’s new airport amid complaints of dangerous working conditions
  • The airport is one of several flagship ‘mega-projects’ facing an uncertain future following a recent government commitment to cut spending
  • Government-led austerity and an expected economic slowdown may see a rise in industrial action, but restrictions on union activity means this will likely remain localised and disparate

Construction of Istanbul’s third airport has been disrupted by strike action, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the country’s flagship $29billion infrastructure project. The new airport is projected to be the world’s largest, eventually reaching six runways and a potential capacity for 150million passengers. Work began in May 2015 and authorities hope the first stage will be complete by October 29 2018, the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the republic, a short time schedule for such a large undertaking.

On September 14, workers on the construction site began an impromptu strike in protest against unsafe and inhumane working conditions, including poor food and accommodation…

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Photo credit: Dokuz8

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