The third airport in Istanbul, which has been at the top of the agenda for a while due to occupational murders and labour unrests, is now on the front burner with allegations of tender corruption.
Stating that the Turkish authorities were involved in a major corruption activity in the third airport where workers reacting against the poor working and housing conditions have been arrested in previous week, Aykut Erdoğdu, who is the Vice President of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that a tender was made for the airport on May 3, 2012.
"Immediately after the tender, both the 42-month construction period and the 25-year operating period should have started by determining the fixed location," Erdoğdu also noted.
Despite this, the determination of the third airport’s location was completed about two years after the tender, on May 1, 2015.
"Construction activities in the third airport area started within two years after the tender, but the construction site was not delivered on June 7, 2014, and the groundbreaking ceremony had been performed by then-Turkish President. This is an unprecedented situation. You cannot perform a groundbreaking ceremony for a project whose the determination of location has not been carried out yet," Erdoğdu underlined.
According to Erdoğdu, thanks to this two-year delay, the authorities managed to protract both construction and operation periods for two years in favour of operator companies of the third airport and to the detriment of the state.
"In this way, 2 billion 90 million euros were seized from our people’s pockets and transferred into the pockets of these building contractors," Erdoğdu said.
"We received unconfirmed information that the other due instalment valued at 2 billion 90 million euros would not be paid to the government after the permission of the administration to the contractors, and this amount would be added to the expiration date," Erdoğdu claimed.
WORKERS SEEKING THEIR RIGHTS HAD BEEN ARRESTED
On September 19, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its judicial bodies had jailed 24 workers ahead of a trial over their actions in protests against inhuman labour conditions at Istanbul’s new airport construction.
Hundreds of workers from the third airport in Istanbul had gathered at the weekend after protesting and striking over labour violations. Workers at the airport have made complaints about several violations such as labour safety which led to dozens of deaths on the site, a lack of properly-organised transportation and the poor food at the site along with bed bugs in their sleeping quarters and delayed salaries.
405 workers, mostly members of trade unions, had been detained on September 14 after their resistance with other thousands of workers to protest poor working conditions at the construction site. Of the detained 405 workers, 24 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".