Istanbul residents hit roads for Eid al-Fitr holiday
Istanbul residents have already started to hit the roads to flock to coastal provinces or their hometowns to spend the nine-day public holiday declared for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations.
Officials have warned people against traffic accidents as the traffic jam started to paralyze highways across the country.
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 have 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.
During this period, traffic control will be tightened on the roads, as the officials have announced that 184,825 traffic personnel will be deployed to oversee the travelers.
The inspections will be assisted by drones and smart glasses.
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.
Meanwhile, Friday sermons delivered at all mosques across Turkey on May 31 included warnings to abide by the traffic laws.
The sermons drafted by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (“Diyanet” in Turkish) told people to be patient and careful on the roads during their travels.
“There are a few days left to Eid al-Fitr. Many of us will hit the roads as of today for Eid al-Fitr. The traffic density on the going and return roads require attention more than usual. Because the traffic accidents that occur turn our Eid al-Fitr joy to sadness and as a nation make all of our hearts bleed,” said the sermons.