By Orhan Onur Gemici
ANKARA (AA) - More than 5,000 people across Turkey have been fined for smoking in cars, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
A total of 37,065 personnel across the country enforced the smoke-free cars policy Wednesday aided by 169 sniffer dogs.
Some 150,000 vehicles were checked.
The smoke-free cars policy followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks to reporters Saturday which said: "I sometimes see drivers smoking in cars, and whenever I see them, I warn them, tell them it’s shameful. Now we’re working on something to stop both drivers and backseat passengers from smoking."
Erdogan has long been credited with his fight against tobacco addiction in Turkey. In July 2009, a comprehensive smoking ban was introduced for all indoor spaces, including restaurants, bars, and cafes, and later was extended to other sites, such as stadiums and courtyards.
Also, over 9,000 vehicles were fined for lack of proper documents and faulty parts. Nearly 2,000 vehicles were disqualified from traffic.
Some 693 suspects, wanted for various crimes -- including deliberate killing, being member of an armed terror group, and drug-related crimes -- were arrested during the checks.
Six missing people, including two children, were also recovered.
*Writing by Sena Guler