ISTANBUL — Waiving the tolls on bridges and highways during Islamic holidays should be extended to other religious holidays, as Turkey doesn’t only have Muslim citizens, but also citizens of many other faith groups whose holidays should be likewise celebrated, a member of parliament has said an filed a motion, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Each year, during the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, citizens use bridges and highways free of charge as “a holiday gesture,” Armenian Garo Paylan of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) recalled on July 15, while also underlining he favors the practice because he believes the use of public goods and infrastructure should be free for citizens.
“However, this practice should not make us forget the reality that there are Christian, Jewish and Yazidi citizens and citizens from other religions in Turkey. These ancient peoples living in these territories are not solely celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, but are also celebrating religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Çarsemba Sor. However, these ancient holidays being celebrated in Anatolia for thousands of years are today ignored by the state,” Paylan said in a written statement.
“According to the constitution and universal democratic norms, the state should approach every religion and each of its citizens equally,” Paylan said, adding the practice concerning the free use of bridges and highways should be extended to citizens from other religions too.
The HDP Istanbul deputy filed a related motion to parliament, noting that he would shortly introduce a bill too.