Turkish airport remains out of commission despite 22m-lira 'repairs'

An airport in eastern Turkey's Siirt remains out of commission despite a whopping 22 million liras having been spent on the facility for improvements. Opened in 1998, the airport was the site of two extravagant improvement projects, one for 22 million liras and another for 24 million liras.

Duvar English

A two-decade-old airport in eastern Siirt remains out of use despite 22 million Turkish Liras spent in rehabilitation, Mesopotamia Agency reported on April 13.

The Siirt Airport opened its doors in 1998, but was never used effectively as it lacked the infrastructure to allow for landing and takeoff of planes, which often led to the cancellation of trips scheduled in and out of the facility. 

The airport was shuttered in April 2017 by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for "improvement of the technical infrastructure, extension, and repairs of the runway."

A massive 22-million-lira tender for the work on the airport was awarded to a construction company owned by AKP deputy candidate Bedrettin Binbay, and was later annulled as the contractor failed to complete the project in time. 

A second, 24-million-lira tender for the same work was granted to yet another pro-government company on March 1, 2018, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan advertised the airport renovation during an election rally in April of 2018. 

The Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry said that the airport would open in June 2018, but the opening didn't take place until March 6, 2019. 

The airport was physically renovated, but remains out of commission, this time because of heavy fog that the location suffers from often, leading to the redirection of planes to nearby Batman and Diyarbakır airports. 

Meanwhile, locals have voiced their requests for the construction of a new airport in the local Kurtalan district, although the government hasn't given any clues for such a project. 

Extravagant and redundant construction tenders handed out by the AKP is no unusual practice, as the government has effectively saturated the industry over their time in office, and President Erdoğan has even boasted about turning the whole country into a construction site.