By Manolis Kostidis – Istanbul
Despite events in Gezi park, the Erdogan administration begun to implement the law that severely restricts the consumption, sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks.
With a new law adopted by Parliament last May, grocery stores, mini-markets and kiosks are prohibited from selling alcohol from 10 PM to 6 AM. Turks that want to drink even a single beer at night must buy it sooner. Shop owners are complaining as alcoholic beverages which they normally sell cannot be placed on shelves!
Also, the sale of alcohol is not allowed in restaurants and taverns that are situated within 100 meters of schools, language schools, dorms and places of worship. In Turkey there are 81.000 mosques and 68.000 schools!
Shops that are at a greater distance could offer drinks to their customers as long as they are seated within the premises but cannot sell alcohol to those seated adjacent to streets.
Finding places that sell alcohol is becoming increasingly difficult as the law prohibits the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks on premises situated on motorways, hospitals, educational institutions, student halls, sports venues, coffee shops, bakeries and gas stations.
Under the new law, Turkish citizens will not be able to drink alcoholic beverages in parks, gardens, streets, or even beaches or benches etc.
Furthermore, Turkish TV series cannot feature scenes in which alcohols is seen as this is considered to encourage drinking. Existing series will have to be censored before being re-shown on television with scenes where actors are seen drinking being cut out!
Also, the advertising of alcoholic drinks in all the media is prohibited.
The Erdogan government argues that the new law was imposed to combat alcoholism. The Turkish prime minister had said that “we do not want a generation that drinks day and night and walks around drunk. We want a young generation that is clever, dynamic and educated. This is the generation we want and for this we take these steps”.
However, many Turks believe this law is a clear interference in people’s personal lives and that Erdogan is trying to impose the Islamic way of life on the entire population.
This law is considered to be one of the reasons that caused violence in Gezi park, Istanbul which later spread throughout Turkey.