Work resumes at Istanbul‘s new airport under police presence

ISTANBUL – Construction workers at Istanbul‘s new airport resumed work on Monday, with heavy police and gendarmerie presence at the site, two labor unions told Reuters, after protests last week over work conditions.

The airport is a centerpiece of a 15-year construction boom under President Tayyip Erdogan. It has an initial planned capacity of 90 million passengers a year, making it one of the world‘s biggest airports and a pillar of Turkey‘s lucrative tourism industry.

Workers have long complained about food, housing and work safety conditions at the construction site, which unions have likened to a concentration camp.

In February, Turkey‘s labor ministry said 27 workers had died at the airport since the start of work in 2015, mainly from accidents or health problems. Protests started on Friday after a shuttle bus accident injured 17 workers.

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