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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held plenty of grand opening ceremonies in his 15 years at Turkey's helm.Tens of thousands of workers have been scrambling to finish the airport to meet Erdogan's Oct. 29 deadline.At its completion in 10 years, it will occupy around 7,600 hectares and serve up to 200 million travelers a year with six runways.All aviation operations will move there at the end of December when Istanbul's main international airport, named after Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is closed down.The Dev-Yapi-Is union has identified 37 worker deaths at the site and claimed more than 100 dead remain unidentified.Turkey's Labor Ministry has denied media reports about hundreds of airport construction deaths, saying in February that 27 workers had died at the site due to "health problems and traffic accidents". Megaprojects in northern Istanbul like the airport, the third bridge connecting Istanbul's Asian and European shores and Erdogan's yet-to-start plans for a man-made canal parallel to the Bosporus strait are also impacting the environment.IGA will operate the airport for 25 years.
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