POLITICS > Turkish President Gül approves controversial bill restricting alcohol


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President Abdullah Gül has approved the controversial bill  restricting the sale and advertising of alcohol, Anatolia news agency reported June 10. 

The 15 day limit allocated for the president’s decision was set to end as of June 11.

“If I see constitutional problems [in the bill], I will do what’s necessary,” Gül had told the Confederation of Turkish Craftsmen and Tradesmen (TESK) head, Bendevi Palandöken, at a meeting on May 30.

He had previously said the bill should be seen as a “regulation” rather than a ban.

The controversial alcohol bill is seen as one of the reasons protesters have taken to the streets as part of the Taksim Gezi Park protests, voicing demands that include respect for their lifestyles.

On May 24, Parliament’s General Assembly adopted the alcohol bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), tightening restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages.

Retailers will no longer be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the bill.

All sorts of advertising campaigns will be completely banned, such as promotions, sponsored activities, festivals and free giveaways. The only exception will be the international fairs aimed at international marketing of the alcoholic beverages.

Violators of the advertising ban will be punished with financial penalties ranging from 5000 to 200,000 Turkish liras.

Under the bill, alcohol companies would no longer be allowed to promote their brands and logos, these can only be used as part of service inside the facility.

Additionally, all liquor bottles sold would have to display warning signs about the harms of alcohol, again similar to those found on cigarette packages.

In TV series, films and music videos, images that glorify the consumption of alcohol will be prohibited. Images of alcohol would be blurred, the same way as cigarettes are being blurred at the moment.

Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed to be purchased from vending machines. Beverages could not be sold from see-through shop windows and cannot be sold to be consumed outside the facility.
Student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs, all sorts of education institutions and gas stations will be banned from selling alcohol. Already acquired licenses to sell alcohol will remain intact, yet to get new ones, facilities are required to be located outside the perimeter of 100 meters of educational and religious centers. 

Those who want to get licenses to sell alcohol from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) will be conditioned to get the license to open up a business from the municipality and then a tourism document from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Before granting a license the municipalities will get the opinion of the authorized law enforcement forces.

The alcohol limit for drivers has also been decreased from 1 to 0.5 promil. If the driver is to exceed this limit, they will be penalized with a fine of 700 liras and their driving license will be seized for a period of six months. Smoking while driving is also prohibited.


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Notice on comments

Jock Inese

6/17/2013 3:16:09 AM

Bye Bye tourism in Turkey.

Brit in Turkey

6/12/2013 7:34:02 PM

Thessalonian: Apart from the health risk of smoking in cars, there are also the dangers of not driving with "due care and attention" (as it would be stated in the UK). While smoking, one hand is occupied in holding the cigarette and not in controlling the car and there is also the ever-present danger of the ash or but-end falling in the smokers lap. The quality of driving here is already bad enough without these added extras.

Chris Green

6/12/2013 11:44:06 AM

To Thessalonian: As a matter of interest and for the purposes of comparison, in the UK, smoking whilst driving or even being an occupant of a commercial vehicle is already prohibited here because in this instance, the vehicle constitutes a 'work place' and so falls under health & safety legislation. There are also moves to prohibit smoking in cars where children are passengers. I also agree with Kypros (unusually) but will resist the temptation to divert this thread to non-analogous threads.

Ex Pat

6/12/2013 8:42:03 AM

Peter is right. This is designed to be the 2nd step after absurdly high taxes on the road to banning alcohol all together, but they overreached. Some of the regulations are reasonable, but the fundamental motivation is undemocratic. Theocratic policy in general is undemocratic. Using religion to get votes is the worst kind of cheap populism. Like most short cuts in politics it always leads to more problems than it solves.


6/12/2013 5:01:41 AM

While most of these regulatory prohibitions fall within Western standards and norms and have been implemented by many modern and liberal nations, "Smoking while driving is also prohibited." Even though I am not a smoker and detest smoking for a great many reasons, I cannot fathom why would smoking and driving a personally owned vehicle would be prohibited as long as there aren't children in it who would be exposed to second hand smoke. Regards


6/11/2013 11:01:10 PM

@abid a shah shah - I would not want you as my cardiologist!

Peter Kypros

6/11/2013 10:50:25 PM

Some of the restrictions are reasonable and could be found in other countries. The problem is that people do not want these restrictions to be imposed because of religion. More people have been killed in the name of religion than alcohol will ever kill. In addition alcohol will never take away democratic values religion can. People have every legitimate reason to be afraid of religious fanatics or those who want to impose their beliefs on others as that will lead to another form of dictatorship

Ex Pat

6/11/2013 10:43:57 PM

@Abid the problem is not my debauchery, it is the fundamental problem of legislating religious values into law, regardless of the religion because those values are not shared by everyone and governments are institutionally incompetent to manage faith. You are welcome to your invisible men, magic books, muttering at walls, and your universe super juice, but I won't be having any. Thank you.

Tekion Particle

6/11/2013 6:58:12 PM

I think we have a few of RTE lovers from Hamas and Hezbollah leaving comments in support of the undemocratic government of AKP. Guys, no disrespect but when did you live in a democracy? You have no idea what is at steak here. Keep quoting Quran is indicative of your mind-set. What Quran dictates is not debated here and pretty much everyone knows about it.. A book written 1500 years ago may not be best suited to guide people in the 21 century. People want to live free of draconian rules.


6/11/2013 6:40:51 PM

abid is not a doctor bu he plays one on discussion lists. if he were a cardiologist, he would know the healthful use of moderate alcohol intake. But the rest of his commentary shows him to be writing wholly from religious revulsion at difference. He and Aktar show clearly why Kadri Gursel is correct that religious democracy is in nearly all cases an oxymoron.
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