World Bulletin / News Desk
The first Muslims from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are preparing to leave in order to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Three seperate groups of Turkish Cypriot men and women, old and young, will begin leaving from Ercan airport on Sunday.
This year, a total of 114 people have registered with the TRNC's Religious Affairs department to perform the holy pilgrimage, which is a religious obligation for all Muslims who are financially and physically able to fulfil it at least once in their lives.
Before engaging in the rituals of the pilgrimage, the Religious Affair department has organized accompanying staff to go through the procedures with the pilgrims with both theory-based and practical training.
Due to an international embargo on the TRNC, which declared independence in 1983 and is yet to be recognized by any country except Turkey, the pilgrims will first be flying to Istanbul, Turkey, from which they will continue their journey to Saudi Arabia.
Up to two million people from 188 countries expected to visit the Mecca next month for the annual pilgrimage.