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Turkish man takes interprovince trip by bicycle after failing to get permission for bus

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A Turkish citizen who could not get permission to journey by bus due to interprovincial travel restrictions went to western Çanakkale from northern Sakarya province by bicycle to see his daughter.

Mustafa Akçay, living in Sakarya, wanted to hit the road a couple of days before Ramadan Bayram, also known as Eid al-Fitr, to see his 14-year-old daughter Hale, who lives with her mother in Çanakkale. He could not get a travel permit for the trip, however, so he set off with his bicycle and reached his destination after a two-day ride. Akçay stated that he was allowed on the condition that he give his signature at checkpoints. After spending the Bayram with his daughter, Akçay returned to Sakarya by bus after getting travel permission as he is slated to go abroad for vocational training.

“I reached Karamürsel district of Kocaeli province first and took my first break there then went to Çanakkale through Balıkesir’s Bandırma district. I reached Çanakkale in two nights and riding an average of 12 hours per day on the bicycle,” he said.

In early April, Turkey halted travel between 31 cities, including Istanbul, excluding transit passage and essential supplies. It subsequently reduced the restrictions to 15 cities and then ended them on June 1 as part of the normalization process.

Akçay said he persisted despite many friends trying to talk him out of it.

“They thought I couldn’t do it. My mother sent me a message to turn back (halfway), but I did not give up. I spent my holiday with my daughter and I helped her with homework,” he said.

Akçay added that he rides a bicycle for one hour every day.

He said he carried out all the necessary procedures and remained in 14-day quarantine upon the police’s request.

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