Travel Restrictions from Istanbul to Black Sea Region

Turkish authorities have restricted movements of around 100,000 people, who live in Istanbul but wish to travel to the Black Sea region to work on the tea harvest. Following a meeting with officials from the Interior Ministry, the governors of the Black Sea provinces of Rize, Artvin, Trabzon, and Giresun have announced that only people, who live in nearby cities, will be allowed to do the harvest work there this year. A large number of people in Istanbul had applied for permission to travel there. Officials have stated that around 100,000 people, who currently live in Istanbul, grow tea in those four Black Sea provinces, and normally travel from Istanbul with their families to their hometowns each year to help with the harvest. The authorities believe this could increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 in these areas. However, special “harvest commissions,” under the supervision of the district governors, will be set up to ensure that the tea harvest is not interrupted this year. The muhtars (village heads) and non-governmental organizations will also be a part of these commissions. Around 20% of tea growers will not be able to oversee the harvest work this year due to the restrictions, according to the authorities. Seasonal workers will be brought in from the eastern provinces of Kars, Ardahan, Erzurum and Bayburt. There is no restriction on agricultural workers who reside in the cities neighboring Rize, Artvin, Trabzon and Giresun. Histoire complète

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