Turkish AKP government has freed 160 workers out of almost 600 who were arrested following a protest over work-related deaths and poor conditions at the construction site for Istanbul's third airport.
Hundreds of labourers were arrested late on Friday as the security forces sought to break up a demonstration outside Istanbul Grand Airport, a huge development which Ankara has claimed will be the biggest in the world.
Another 20 were arrested on Saturday as they rallied in support of the detainees.
The protest broke out after a shuttle bus accident on Friday in which 17 workers were injured. Thousands of workers joined the demonstration. Police used tear gas at the construction site on Friday to break up the protest by the workers who were demanding better conditions, including improved safety at the site.
As some resources report that around 400 workers have been killed at the site since the beginning of the massive airport project, the AKP government denies such reports and says that 27 workers died since the construction had begun in May 2015.
The new airport is scheduled to open on Oct. 29.
The contractors have been forcing workers to work day and night under inhuman conditions to finish the project.
The workers refused to work several times as their salaries were not paid for two months. Tens of thousands of subcontracted workers working under 1500 firms are employed for the third airport project.
Workers have also complained about poor food at the site, bed bugs in their sleeping quarters and delayed salaries. Pictures they posted online showed cracks in the ceilings and walls of the container homes where they are housed.
In February 2018, more than 1500 workers had blocked the roads to protest bad working conditions and long working hours, as they are being pushed to finalize the airport construction very soon.