News / 6 February 2017

Press Release: No Dutch public support for Istanbul’s controversial new airport

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. 


“I have no place to go, I will become homeless. Please don’t demolish my place”. (photo NFD)


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.


First step

“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 NFD 

Website Both ENDS

Website XminY


For more information

Read more about this subject