A significantly lower number of people in the southeastern city of Mardin have applied to authorities this year to visit their relatives in Syria during the three day festival after the month of Ramadan, known as Eid al Fitr in Arabic. Officials say the decrease in numbers can be attributed to the mutual waiver of visas between Turkey and Syria in a deal struck earlier this year.
Every year, Turkey and Syria open the Hudut Gate at the Mardin border for visits between the two sides during religious holidays. The governor of the Nusaybin district, Murat Girgin, says 6,000 Turkish citizens are able to enter Syria during the holiday according to a protocol signed with Syria. However, only 2,030 people have applied this year. The application period has now expired.
Murat Girgin said that a total of 2,030 Turkish citizens will visit their Syrian relatives using their identification cards on the second day of the Ramadan holiday and will be able to stay there for 48 hours. Turkish citizens who spend the holiday with their relatives in Syria can bring back up to 300 euros worth of goods through customs.