This article is from the Kuzey Ormanlari Savunmasi (Northern Forest Defence) website
For Turkish version see: 3. havalimanı sahasında proje başvurusu yapan Hollandalı firma çekildi
As the Northern Forests Defence, we have been continuously iterating our position that Istanbul’s 3rd airport isn’t a transportation project, but a real estate-construction project that will flood the Northern Forests of Istanbul with cement, which we declared in our announcements and in our 3rd airport report. This fact has also been stated in the environmental assesment report for the project. The gigantic area allocated to the 3rd airport project and also other projects announced by the members of the consortium for the area, are strong evidence of this. As a matter of fact, the 3rd airport project will be showcased under the name of “Airport City” in the world trade show MIPIM 2017, to be held in Cannes between 14-17 March.
The citizens of this country are ignorant of the decisions that will affect the future of the city and their children, as global capital and real estate / construction companies continue their plunder projects in the Northern Forests of Istanbul, the lungs of Istanbul. As citizens of this country we mostly don’t hear about the details nor the locations of such projects, as well as the 3rd airport project, however esteemed architects (!) and global actors, who find it difficult to embark locally on such projects that devastate nature and the environment, and violate the right to live, are in command of all details, since they are very busy preparing project after project for the Northern Forests.
One of these companies is a Dutch real estate-construction company, whose application story you will read below. This company, name and involved project unknown, applied to the well-known credit company Atradius Dutch State Business (ADSB) -which operates on behalf of the Dutch government- in 2016 in order to apply for export credit support for a project related to the Istanbul New Airport Project. Then ADSB contacted NFD in October to obtain information related to the 3rd airport project. When we met with the ADSB officials in Istanbul, we conveyed our position that the 3rd airport would be death of Istanbul and the only acceptable solution would be the cancellation of the project and detailed the permanent damage this project will leave on the local ecosystem, the workplace murders committed in the project, and the lack of transparency. And last month we received the good news: The company, probably due to refusal of its credit application, had announced its withdrawal from the project. ADSB, due to its ethics code, didn’t share the name of the company, nor the character or the location of project, with NFD.
As we announce this positive development, we are also sharing the 6 February 2017 dated press announcement of the Dutch STK Both ENDS, who linked ADSB and NFD – there is additional information about the process in this announcement.
Turkey is building Istanbul’s third and the world’s biggest airport in the Northern Forest area on the outskirts of the city. The project is strongly opposed by local communities and NGO’s, as it destroys the environment and violates basic human and local community rights.
On January 27th, Atradius Dutch State Business (ADSB), the Dutch export credit agency, announced that a Dutch company withdrew its application for export credit support for this controversial mega-project.
Local communities, supported by the Turkish civil society organisation Northern Forest Defense (NFD), and their Dutch partner organisations XminY and Both ENDS, are pleased with this development. They hope that the withdrawal will contribute to address public concerns surrounding this mega infrastructure project.
Social and environmental hazards
In August 2016 Atradius DSB, which operates on behalf of the Dutch government, announced on its website that it was considering an application for export credit support for the Istanbul New Airport Project. This project was classified as potentially having high social and environmental risks. Both ENDS shared this information with NFD, which then discussed its concerns about the project with representatives of Atradius DSB during their visit to Istanbul in October 2016.
“As a movement advocating for the protection of the natural environment around Istanbul, we welcome this news” indicates NFD. “In our report about this project from March 2015 we already concluded that the destruction of the Northern Forests of Istanbul has devastating effects. It will affect water basins, lakes, rivers, bird migration, forests and the people living in and around Istanbul. Local communities are faced with forced evictions and displacement. The withdrawal is a good first step, but we will continue our fight against the airport project.”
Fatal accidents and financial risks
Another critical issue NFD points out is the lack of safety measures. Nearly 100 workers have died due to accidents, many of them truck drivers. Thousands of trucks move sand, cement and rubble in and out of the project area day and night. Moreover, NFD raises major questions about both airworthiness (due to meteorological conditions, migratory birds, soil structure) and financial risks of the project. Examining the financial stability of Turkey as a whole and the airport project specifically, the NFD report argues that the airport is not likely to make significant revenues in the near future.
Others might follow
“Although the identity of the Dutch company nor the reason for the applications’ withdrawal were ever disclosed, we assume that NFD’s efforts of sharing concerns with ADSB helped trigger the Dutch exporter to reconsider its involvement in the airport project”, says Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS. ”Hopefully, the withdrawal of this application for an export credit insurance will motivate other companies to re-evaluate their role in the project as well”.
For more information, please contact Niels Hazekamp:
The NFD Report
Website Both ENDS