Turkey building pandemic hospital over closed airport’s pricey runways

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A new hospital is being constructed for COVID-19 patients over runways at the now-closed İstanbul Atatürk Airport that had cost $2 million to build, with the former airport being rendered completely unusable by the government, according to an opposition deputy, the Sözcü daily reported.  

The Turkish government decided to build a pandemic hospital over part of the city’s old Atatürk Airport, which was closed in April 2019 because a larger, $12 billion airport had opened in İstanbul, though with much controversy.

Many experts and critics of the government said the new airport was constructed in an area geographically inappropriate for such a facility and that adding several runways at Atatürk would be sufficient manage the air traffic in İstanbul.

The government has also been accused of seeking to construct the new airport for the financial gain of the pro-government businesses that were awarded the tenders for the airport’s construction.

According to Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Özgür Karabat, two out of three runways at Atatürk Airport were destroyed for the construction of the hospital. He said this was more like an operation to destroy Atatürk Airport than to build a pandemic hospital.

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