Esra Albayrak (L) with her husband Berat Albayrak. Hürriyet photo
Turkey’s Green Crescent (Yeşilay) organization aims to broaden the types of addictions it combats as the addition of the daughter of the Turkish prime minister to their team boosts the organization’s profile.
Esra Albayrak, the daughter of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has led projects at other nongovernmental organizations, said Professor İhsan Karaman, the new chairman of Yeşilay and son of Erdoğan’s long-time friend, theology Professor Hayrettin Karaman.
Karaman told daily Hürriyet that he had personally invited Albayrak to Yeşilay. “We have no doubt that Prime Minister Erdoğan will contribute to Yeşilay’s efforts,” the chairman said. “Esra Albayrak has worked for other organizations and prepared projects for them. She must have, with the support of her family, felt that she would be useful to Yeşilay and accepted our invitation.”
Karaman said they had adopted a new vision in fighting against bad habits and problems regarding public health, adding that the organization would not only combat drug and alcohol abuse but also fight other addictions that had emerged in recent years such as Internet, mobile phone and TV addiction.
“We formed an academic and scientific team. Our scientific strategies will comply with modern requirements. The new Yeşilay will be against every addiction that prevents people from being productive, dynamic and healthy,” Karaman said.
Karaman also said alcoholic beverages have some symbolic connotations in Turkey. “Alcohol consumption is associated with lifestyle and worldview. Those against alcohol are being marginalized since they are represented as being against modernization. So we will adopt a new strategy to combat alcohol abuse regardless of identity, personality, ideology, lifestyle and worldview. Our mission is to deal with alcohol as a public health problem,” Karaman said.
Karaman said they supported the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. “The European Alcohol Policy Alliance also favors taking measurements against the alcohol industry and forcing the government to make anti-alcohol policies such as increasing prices of alcoholic beverages, making accessibility harder and establishing an age limit,” Karaman said.
Karaman indicated that the policies related to alcohol consumption have changed all over the world. “Countries are now uniting against alcohol. The European Alcohol Policy Alliance is one of them. We obtained much data from Europe, where the highest rates of alcohol consumption are seen. Each year, 115,000 young people die [in Europe] due to alcohol-related reasons. According to data from the World Health Organization, alcohol is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 24, and 125 billion euros are spent on the treatment of alcohol-related problems.”