“A Monument of Victory” – documentary on new Istanbul airport

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  • Mark Caswell

    Thought readers might find this interesting:

    According to the press release:

    “A Monument of Victory: Istanbul Airport” – a documentary film narrating the story of Istanbul Airport as the largest project in the history of the Republic from its initial stages of gestation to the airport’s shift to operation at full capacity – released today on iGA Istanbul Airport’s YouTube channel. The documentary provides a comprehensive narrative on the construction process of Istanbul Airport – a project that manifests Turkey’s claim in aviation industry – down to the last detail.

    The 56-minutes long documentary titled “A Monument of Victory: Istanbul Airport” narrating all stages of Istanbul Airport from the planning process to construction and from construction to the launch of operations as an airport that has pushed Turkey over the top of aviation is available on iGA Istanbul Airport’s YouTube channel as of today.

    The product of 1857-days’ hard work…

    Over 230 hours of camera shooting was made in the production of the” A Monument of Victory: Istanbul Airport” documentary, with more than 100 people working in the production and post-production phases. The documentary being the product of 1.857-days’ hard work comprises time-lapse shoots taken by 20 cameras over the course of 3 years from 100 different points. A total of 40 terabytes of data were recorded for the documentary that took record of every detail for 61 months.

    Not a mere airport, but a monument of victory…

    During the construction of Istanbul Airport, 12.400 bores and test pits were drilled. 3.159 construction equipment operated nonstop. 750 million cubic meters of soil was excavated. 320 million cubic meters of filling works was carried out. 7 million cubic meters of concrete was poured. “A Monument of Victory: Istanbul Airport” offers a dynamic insight to the sublime story of Istanbul Airport as Turkey’s gate to the world that has proven itself as a global HUB in its first year of operation already, on account of its unique architecture, strong infrastructure, superior technologies, and the outstanding travel experience offered to its passengers.

    The documentary points out that Istanbul Airport was completed in record time of just 42 months, whilst the project was initially anticipated by many to take 10 years under normal conditions when compared to other airport constructions worldwide, placing emphasis on the fact that the design process alone may take up to 4 years in projects like this. Yet in contrast, iGA managed to complete the airport’s construction and put it into service in a time as short as 42 months. The documentary informs that Istanbul Airport, the opening of which was initially scheduled for 29 October 2018, completed the challenging construction process in record time of just 42 months, highlighting the fact that the idle land on which the airport is located has been made earthquake-proof, thus turning it into a gem of sustainable added value for Turkish economy.

    A terminal design paying tribute to Sinan the Architect…

    The documentary narrates that Istanbul Airport has an authentic design that combines modernity with functionality, emphasizing that in architectural terms the airport terminal takes its inspiration from Istanbul’s cultural heritage. It is also mentioned that the terminal’s architecture is an elaborated reflection of the mosques, baths, domes and many other historic structures of Istanbul, with motives peculiar to Turkish-Islamic art and architecture bestowing a whole new beauty, texture and depth upon the project. As is known, the design of Istanbul Airport’s air traffic control tower took its inspiration from the “tulip” – a figure of cultural significance in Turkish-Islamic history and the city symbol of Istanbul for centuries – while the terminal’s roofs make reference to the designs of Sinan the Architect.

    The documentary also gives every detail of the “Great Move” where, as the last step for Istanbul Airport to start service at full capacity, Atatürk Airport was closed to flights, and materials weighing 47.300 tons in total were moved to Istanbul Airport. Those moments that manifest Turkey’s success in logistics are screened with images that will not be forgotten for many years.

    Now, it is us with Istanbul Airport who sets the rules in aviation…

    Mr. Kadri Samsunlu, Chief Executive Officer of iGA Airport Operation Inc., expressed his thoughts and emotions about “A Monument of Victory: Istanbul Airport”, which narrates the whole process of Istanbul Airport’s inauguration from its early stages of gestation to the launch of operations at full capacity, with following statements:

    “With this documentary, whole world will witness the moments when we achieved the impossible thanks to our ambition and determination. Thousands of people worked shoulder to shoulder with tremendous devotion in the whole process from construction to operations of Istanbul Airport – the largest project in the Republic’s history, a ‘Monument of Victory’ as called by the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    “We are so proud to have brought an achievement of such magnitude to our country. This achievement is the product of Turkish engineering, our strong national economy, and above all, the ambition and determination of Turkish people. We have shot this documentary film to set an example for new projects and freeze this success story in the people’s memories. I am a true believer that international travel will return to normal faster with the development of a vaccine, as a result of which travel restrictions will be lifted eventually.”

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    sorry, but I deeply resent propaganda emanating from the Erdogan regime

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    Sorry Mark, mentioning the ‘story’ and / or adding a link is one thing, but copying and pasting all that juvenile nonsense really isn’t necessary.

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    Looks like it will be considerably under used for years into the future.

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    Clearly not a “Turkish Delight”


    Sorry Mark, mentioning the ‘story’ and / or adding a link is one thing, but copying and pasting all that juvenile nonsense really isn’t necessary.

    Thanks for your comment. Personally I wouldn’t call it juvenile, though. It does seem slightly biased and propagandistic (is that even a word?), though. Thanks too to Mark for the original post.


    If we ignore the political bias, this is definitely an achievement. And most countries like to brag about their achievements.

    Considering the bungling events that happened while opening some other new airports or new terminals, this is a very good work.

    I do not like Turkish president or his political ambition but I always praise engineering achievements where due. And new Istanbul airport is definitely an engineering and managerial achievement.

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    Sorry Mark, mentioning the ‘story’ and / or adding a link is one thing, but copying and pasting all that juvenile nonsense really isn’t necessary.

    Mark made it clear it was from the TK press release which provides (however nauseating) context/background to this video. BT reports the news and we can each choose how we interpret that news, surely?

    Thanks for posting this Mark. I will pour a glass of wine, perhaps pop some popcorn and immerse myself into the world of Turkish PR.

    Don’t forget, this is an airline which re-named and dedicated it’s main hub lounge to the heroes who brought down a military coup. I have high expectations for this video.


    This is it seems a horror of an airport that is more a monument to ego and stupidity than to any sort of Victory.

    According to experts almost every possible error was made in the selection of the site, a formerly hilly wooded marshland located on a floodplain close to the shores of the Black Sea that is very exposed and is susceptible to fog and high winds,lies on a major bird migration path and has a poor 30 years out of date runway layout.

    The construction was rushed (55 workers were killed during the construction) resulting in many build quality issues that will take several years and hundreds of millions to fix.
    In Turkey, criticism of this prestige project of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still growing. Officially costing the equivalent of US$8.8 billion reports are that this has blown out to some US$24 billion. Many experts have always asserted it has been built in the wrong location where potentially dangerous wind shear is a problem which has already led to a considerable number of go-arounds as even the Turkish transport minister has acknowledged.

    Another crisis for the Istanbul Airport. It is estimated that the new airport is to garner a much lower number of passengers than forecast or its 95 million capacity and it is reported the the construction consortium is insolvent and unable to make payments to the lenders as they fall due. The members of the consortium it seems are famous for their close relations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, winning almost all major state tenders throughout the ongoing rule of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
    An arriving Australian passenger wrote
    “The new airport in Istanbul is apparently the biggest in the world, and yes it is huge, as I discovered when I arrived on June 24th. Huge, ugly, and in chaos! I was one of many people whose luggage got lost or mislaid, and spent several long and frustrating hours at the airport, until it was found. Being in a wheelchair made it even more difficult, the young Turkish man assisting me was very nice, and did his best for me, but him not speaking English, and me with only about three words of Turkish didn’t help us. Istanbul is a major hub airport and literally millions of tourists visit every year, so I was surprised to find so few English-speaking staff, quite the opposite to Athens, where almost everyone spoke at least some English. After arriving much earlier in the night, my luggage and I finally got to the hotel in Sultanahmet just before midnight.
    Then when I was leaving Istanbul for home, it was a letdown to find that even though I had booked wheelchair assistance, I had to walk a long way to the luggage check-in before they provided the wheelchair, and frankly, I was in great pain and exhausted due to this.
    I was very disappointed with my personal experiences there. Hopefully, by the time I visit Istanbul again, they will have sorted themselves out, and provide better customer service.”

    Why am I not surprised.

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    This is it seems a horror of an airport that is more a monument to ego and stupidity than to any sort of Victory.

    Spot on.

    Your post is sobering but, as you say, not surprising.

    The Australian traveler’s account is quite telling. Due to a back/spine injury, I often need to use mobility assistance and the size of IST makes the experience somewhat overwhelming. Thankfully on some flights they transport all premium pax by golf buggy, however (i) what about those not in premium cabins? and (ii) even by buggy it took a while to make it to transfer security.

    Architecturally, it’s brash and impressive but the wow factor is lost when it takes as long to get to the gate as the flight itself.

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