Millions hit roads for Eid al-Adha holiday
Large numbers of sacrificial animals including sheep and cows will be slaughtered as part of the Islamic tradition of the Festival of the Sacrifice starting on Aug. 11 and ending on Aug. 14 this year.
Congestion on the highway in Bolu, a Black Sea province between Istanbul and the capital Ankara, started in the afternoon on Aug. 9. Normally, it takes about 100-120 minutes between Kocaeli province and Bolu’s Gerede district, but during the Eid al-Adha, this time period is expected to rise up to 235 minutes.
The Interior Ministry has decided to deploy 116,236 traffic police squads on the roads to set up control points in every 10 kilometers on the 20 critical routes across the 18 provinces.
At least 86 people died in 73 traffic accidents during the nine-day Eid al-Fitr public holiday between June 1 and 9, according to the Interior Ministry.
Some 10 million intercity coach tickets have been sold ahead of the holiday, according to the federation of the 353 coach firms TOF. The number of daily bus services were increased from the average level of 22,000 to 27,000, said TOF President Mustafa Yıldırım.
Health institutions will be on alert during the holiday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Aug. 9.
“We have observed increasing numbers of injuries during slaughtering, traffic accidents and food poisoning in recent years. We see strong a demand for ambulance and emergency services,” he said, adding that 130,000 healthcare staff, including 78,000 nurses and 22,000 doctors, will be on duty across the country.
Most of the hotel rooms have been booked earlier, according to the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB). “We expect a total income of 10 billion Turkish Liras [$1.8 billion],” TÜRSAB head Firuz Bağlıkaya said.
Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines has announced 59 extra flights between Aug. 9 and 18.
Meanwhile, nearly 40,000 Syrians living in Turkey crossed the Öncüpınar Border Gate in the southern Kilis province in the last 19 days to visit their homeland during Eid al-Adha, officials said. Registered Syrians will be allowed to come back to Turkey in the upcoming weeks.