23 killed traffic crashes in first three days of Eid al-Fitr: Ministry

23 killed traffic crashes in first three days of Eid al-Fitr: Ministry

ANKARA–Demirören News Agency
23 killed traffic crashes in first three days of Eid al-Fitr: Ministry

Some 23 people were killed in road accidents across Turkey during the first three days of the Eid al-Fitr holiday this year, June 1-3, the Interior Ministry has announced.

“Despite the 61 percent increase in the number of motor vehicles in the last 10 years [in Turkey] as well as the traffic load, this [death toll] has decreased to eight per day – a 61 percent decrease compared to the previous Eid holidays, which were marked with 20 deaths per day,” said a ministry statement released on June 4.

The ministry said authorities had taken many measures to reduce the number of potential traffic accidents during the nine-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday.

During this period, traffic control is tightened on the roads, with 184,825 traffic personnel deployed to oversee the travelers, said the ministry.

Thanks to these increased precautions no traffic accidents have so far happened during this holiday at 20 “black spots” in 18 provinces, the ministry said, referring to the locations where many accidents occur.

The statement advised travelers to be especially careful during the weekend, June 8-9, as those days will be when many people travel back to their cities of residence from their hometowns or holiday cities.

“For the Eid rejoice, not turn into sadness and for death tolls, which put all of us as society in intense sorrow, not to occur, we ask our citizens not only to abide by all traffic precautions but also to plan their return journeys, to decide on where they will take a break… not to use their vehicles tired and sleeplessly, to give short but frequent breaks (10 minutes every two hours), not to drive too fast and be careless with their vehicles,” said the statement.

Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, was planned to officially start on June 4 and end on June 6. But Turkish authorities signed a circular declaring that July 3 (a Monday) and July 7 (a Friday) would also be holidays, effectively creating a nine-day public holiday, including the two weekends.

The number of people traveling during the holiday is estimated to be over 5 million, according to tourism players.

Osman Ayık, the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), had previously said that of the 5 million people, the majority are expected to travel to their hometowns to spend the holiday with their families, while 300,000-400,000 will flock to coastal cities or sightseeing sites.