Airport construction workers' letter from prison

The imprisoned construction workers of İstanbul's third airport sent a letter from the prison, saluting the people in solidarity with them and protesting their employers for obliging them to poor work conditions
Sunday, 23 September 2018 20:30

The construction workers of İstanbul's third airport who were arrested for protesting the poor conditions at the construction site have written a public letter, thanking all the people who have supported them.

405 workers, mostly members of trade unions, were detained late on September 14 following their resistance with other thousands of workers against poor working and living conditions at the construction site. 24 out of the detained workers were arrested with a court decision under the pretext of " damaging public property", "violating the law on meetings and demonstrations", and "violating the freedom to work and labour".


"They brutally tried to repress our very humane demands. They detained us by breaking the doors of our dormitories at midnight. We were interrogated under violence, swearing and defamation at the [consortium firm] İGA's security building. We were unlawfully prosecuted and imprisoned just because we wanted to live and work humanely," the workers said in their letter.

The workers underlined that seeking rights would not be a crime, pointing out to the bosses of İGA as the true guilty since they forced the workers to work under inhumane conditions.

Addressing the public opinion, the arrested workers said, "Don't worry about us, we're in a good mode. Greetings to all people who spread our voice. Construction workers are not slaves."


The İGA consortium, comprised of the companies Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, Kalyon and Mapa, admitted labour safety negligence at İstanbul third airport construction site, reported local media on September 23. The admission came at the accident report by İGA’s labour safety expert submitted to the court for the case of labour accident that occurred on March 3, 2017.

Dumper truck driver Mehmet Salmazzem got severely injured at İstanbul third airport construction site on March 3, 2017, when the damper of the truck he was driving fell on him. Suffering from lumbar fracture, Salmazzem was confined to bed for a long time and opened a lawsuit against the İGA consortium.

For the court file, an accident report was prepared by the labour safety expert of İGA. The report admitted that the work conditions at the construction site are “so terrible as to create life risk”, adding that “Although all contractor firms had been told to make maintenance and repair works of trucks and work machines, the accident happened since Orkun Nakliyat firm did not make a full maintenance and repair work in its own machines and trucks.”

Salmazzem came from Muş, a southeastern province of Turkey, to İstanbul to work at third airport construction site. After the accident at the construction site, he was unable to go back to his hometown and his home mate co-workers took care of him.

Since the construction works started at İstanbul's third airport, hundreds of labour accident and occupational murders happened. More than 1.500 workers had blocked the roads to protest bad working conditions at the airport construction site in February. Although there have been huge protests and criticisms both from the workers and the public opinion, the work conditions keep getting worse in an effort to finish the construction soon without taking necessary labour safety measures.