Turkey celebrates Eid al-Fitr holiday
Muslims in Turkey, alongside Muslim populations around the world, are set to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr starting on June 15 until June 17, marking the end of 30 days of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began on May 16 in Turkey, when Muslims ate only between sunset and sunrise, and ends on the evening of June 14.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a time when Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sexual intercourse from the “sahur” meal at sunrise to the “iftar” meal at sunset.
Traditionally, families visit relatives and friends in other provinces to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday after Ramadan, while many also hit the coastal areas in the south. This generally leaves big cities relatively empty in contrast with the typical situation.
Public transportation in Istanbul is provided by the metropolitan municipality at a 50 percent discount over the course of the holiday, allowing the city’s residents to travel more easily.
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan has also said that highways and bridges will be toll-free during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
People hit the road
“Millions of people will be on the road during the holiday and we have taken all necessary measures,” Arslan, said, calling on motorists to drive safely.
“Some 90 percent of accidents are due to drivers’ fault. We urge people to show utmost attention while on the roads,” the minister said.
Some 65 people were killed and 489 were injured across Turkey during the Eid al-Fitr holiday last year.
Thousands of Turks travel to their hometowns to spend time with their families while many more flock to the country’s major touristic destinations on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
Hotel occupancy rates hit 100 percent in the resort towns Bodrum, Marmaris, Akyaka and Fethiye on the Aegean coast while the occupancy rates in the Mediterranean Antalya province, another major tourist attraction, also run around 100 percent.
The main bus terminal in Istanbul and the city’s two airports, Atatürk and Sabiha Göçken, are filled with people and holidaymakers travelling to their hometowns and to resorts or abroad.
Turkish Airlines and other carriers will have additional flights to domestic destinations from the Atatürk Airport during the holiday to meet the increased demand.
Travelers have been forming long queues in the Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports.
Officials from ISG, which operates the Sabiha Gökçen Airport, said they are expecting to serve some 490,000 passengers during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.