POLITICS > Drink at home, Turkish PM tells booze regulation critics

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defends the alcohol restriction law recently passed by Parliament. Daily News Photo, Selahattin Sönmez.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defends the alcohol restriction law recently passed by Parliament. Daily News Photo, Selahattin Sönmez.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has advised members of the public upset at draconian new alcohol laws to enjoy their libations in the comfort of their own home, dismissing claims that intoxicating drinks have been banned.

“For days, there has been propaganda inside the country and abroad saying, ‘Alcohol is banned in Turkey.’ Before everything else, whoever says, writes and reports this, whoever spreads this inside the country and abroad is a liar, to say the least. We haven’t banned anything,” Erdoğan said in a speech delivered at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group May 28.

Erdoğan devoted a majority of his speech to the criticism leveled at his government for the alcohol regulations, saying the harsh measures neither constituted a ban nor an intervention into people’s lifestyles.

“Nobody should turn alcohol into an identity issue. The regulation adopted [by the Parliament] is not an intervention into anybody’s identity, ideology and lifestyle. Those who perceive this as such are mistaken. Those who say this have ulterior motives,” Erdoğan said.

“If you are going to drink [alcohol], then drink your alcohol in your house,” he said, noting that the criteria for the consumption of alcohol in the public sphere were set. “If you will drink, drink. We are not against this. But we are not allowing this in certain places and at certain hours – and within 100 meters of mosques and schools,” he said.

The media also received its share of criticism from Erdoğan for its stance on the issue, as he argued that some of the opponents were merely against the regulation because Islam prohibited the consumption of alcohol, meaning that they were against the dictates of Islam.

Erdoğan also thanked the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for its support on the alcohol regulations.

Bahçeli gives mixed signals on alcohol

But MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli gave mixed signals on his party’s stance on the alcohol ban, voicing somewhat ambiguous support for the ban May 28.

“As the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP], we naturally positively approach a regulation that will restrict the sale and use of alcohol. It should be known that our attitude never includes support for the AKP,” Bahçeli said, addressing his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

“In this respect, while respecting the area of personal freedom, we agree that strengthening the spiritual, bodily and mental health of our future generations is an essential mission,” Bahçeli said, while noting that Erdoğan’s remarks about not wanting a “drunk and wasted” youth were an exaggeration.

However, on his way back from a party rally in Adana over the weekend, Bahçeli said the clandestine sale and consumption of alcohol could rise with a ban.

“A ban would create 1930s America,” he said, arguing that illegal underground criminal organizations smuggling drugs and alcohol could emerge as a result of the law.

For his part, in response to questions from correspondents, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said: “I would actually expect the AKP to entirely ban alcohol production in Turkey; why didn’t they?”

May/28/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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mara mcglothin

5/31/2013 5:49:09 PM

FYI BARIS The leases of the big clubs on the Bosporus roll yearly and at a huge cost, so there will be some affected by the new rules. Also the definition of "public" is in question. If anything that is NOT "in the home" considered public, then we are all in trouble.

Michael Johnson

5/31/2013 9:25:13 AM

Erdogan, go pray at home.

Socialist TRK

5/30/2013 9:20:14 AM

This will just become a black market for all those places where people drink outside and don't drink at clubs,.. Entire Kordon in Izmir, Galata tower, Şişhane, Moda, Kadikoy, Boğaziçi campus and many other late night drinking spots overlooking scenic views.

Shahpur

5/29/2013 11:41:31 PM

It is a historical fact that most Ottomans were not ordinary Turks. Most Valide Sultans were product of Harems. These women in the Harems were mostly used, abused, European, uneducated slaves. Ataturk and other revolutionaries understood the hypocrasy of Ottomans, well. Turks should raise their glasses today and salute these revolutionaries, who brought an end, and created the modern Turkey for the real Turks.

young genius

5/29/2013 11:21:39 PM

In the U.S., it is against the law to drink alcohol out in public, just as Akyol just stated. So essentially, Erdoğan is not banning alcohol. BUT, Erdoğan has shot himself in the foot when he began bringing in religion. I hope Turkish people start waking up and start to realise who they are dealing with. AKP/Erdoğan is polarising society as we know it. That's what they want. They don't care about religion, they just want votes from religious people.

Baris

5/29/2013 7:46:51 PM

@Cem Ian Hanley, that won't be the case. The law does not affect the existing establishments, which will continue to operate regardless of a new mosque built near it. The law affects the future drinks licences, not the existing ones. However, because licences are issued to individuals and not to the establishment itself, in the event that the licencee dies, their heirs may be refused a licence on account of the new mosque built, so the existing bar may have to close down in the event of death.

Inka Rotka

5/29/2013 7:42:03 PM

Sorry, but is ridiculous ban. I live in big city in Europe, in central area (neighborhood many restaurant, cafe etc etc), I'm not alcoholic, my family too. All depends on culture and education - this both we take from home and school not from street or bars. All values are from family and home. Banning like this comes from incompetence.

Geir Fugleberg

5/29/2013 6:52:34 PM

Mr Broxman, I wanted to quote exactly the same. You beat me to it.

Al Rashid

5/29/2013 6:40:33 PM

Some of my family are visiting Bodrum next week, they love it there. With the new law, will it become a ghost town after 10.00pm, which really isn't that late. In the summer months the beach is surprisingly busy even at midnight. The bars and restaurants don't even get going till after 10.00pm. I generally have always been very supportive of the current government but this really is a disaster because it plays into the opponents of Turkey on so many levels.

Geir Fugleberg

5/29/2013 6:39:09 PM

Cam-no the licences can be transfered to your second degree relatives.That is thelLaw. But ,-no sale.And no New licences.
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