Workers at the Istanbul New Airport, currently under construction and scheduled to begin operations on October 31, warned on Sunday, September 16, that protests to demand better working and living conditions are likely to continue and could cause delays to the airport's planned opening. Demonstrations initially broke out on Friday, September 14, after 17 workers were injured in a shuttle bus accident; thousands of people reportedly took part in the protests, which were broken up by riot police. According to Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin, 401 people were detained during the unrest, and 275 of them were released on Sunday morning. However, union leaders disputed this number, claiming that 160 people had been released, with 360 still believed to be in custody. Despite the recent unrest, airport officials have asserted that work is proceeding on schedule and there is no indication that there will be any delay to the airport's expected October 29 inauguration ceremony. In the event that further protests do take place, a strong security response is to be expected.
Istanbul New Airport, located north of Istanbul in Arnavutköy district, will replace Istanbul Atatürk Airport and assume the IATA airport code IST. Once operational, it is expected to see about 90 million passengers pass through each year.
Individuals in Istanbul are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence. More generally, due to the risk of terrorism, individuals should maintain a high degree of vigilance, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities, and be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels, and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.).
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