Hundreds of Turkish tourists remained trapped for hours at passport control on Chios island after a breakdown of the computer system.
It was after the intervention of deputy regional governor Stamatis Karmantzis and Citizen Protection Alternate Minister Nikos Toskas that passport control was done only by picture identification. After that, the Turkish tourists were free to return to their homeland.
The passport control system broke down at 8:30 Wednesday morning. As a result, the personnel at the Chios customs office was unable to access the citizen protection ministry data base. The same happened to passport control systems of other Aegean islands, even at the Evros customs offices.
Thousands of Turkish tourists were on the Greek islands in the past few days because of the Muslim Ramadan holidays. On Chios, the wait in the heat exceeded three hours, which caused tension and frustration. One woman fainted and was transferred to the hospital. A little after noon, the alternate citizen protection minister gave the order to identify the passport or ID holders based solely on photos.
According to local authorities, 6,000 tourist from neighboring Turkey came to the island during Ramadan, compared to the 3,500 who visited during the same period last year.