A small city in northern Turkey has been managing its traffic for the last 18 years without traffic lights despite being home to a sizeable population.
Traffic lights in the Black Sea city of Sinop were removed by the provincial traffic commission's decision in 1998 due to traffic jams inside the city. The only traffic lights in the city are located in front of the state hospital located on an inter-provincial highway on the outskirts of the city.
Sinop Governor Hasan Ipek explains this phenomenon with the respect the locals in Sinop show to each other.
"First and foremost, Sinop is a very precious province as people show to each other. We see it best in traffic. There is only one traffic light, but I see every time how drivers are respectful to each other, to pedestrians," Ipek said, noting that horns or fights are scenes that rarely occur in traffic despite the poor conditions of the roads in the historic city center.
Ipek added that Sinop turned out to be the happiest province in Turkey in a research carried out by the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat).
Sinop Mayor Baki Ergül said that there was more traffic jams in the city when there were traffic lights.
"There has to be traffic lights in a modern city, I'm not saying no to this. However, this is such an interesting city is that there were traffic lights, but this is an historic city, our roads are not wide enough. So one had to wait for five minutes, ten minutes. But now, if a car was to pass from there, the driver stops and waits for the other to pass, especially for pedestrians who are older, with children, carrying something heavy. This is what locals in Sinop do. That means we live in a city in which people are kinder than traffic lights and technology. We have plans and Sinop will grow in the future, which would require traffic lights. But for now, we don't need such a thing. People find it funny but we are happy that way," Ergül said.
Turkey's northernmost city Sinop is home to some 50,000 residents. The city lies on a peninsula on the Black Sea, which has been inhabited since Ionian Greeks founded a colony in the 7th century, and a narrow isthmus that connects it to mainland.
While the city is renowned for its historic and quiet nature, Sinop province is also famous for its well-preserved green nature and numerous waterfalls thanks to its low population density.