Alcohol restrictions to damage Turkey's image, warns Diageo
Diageo acquired Mey İçki for $2.1 billion in 2011. The company is the owns Turkey's biggest Rakı brand 'Yeni Rakı'.The alcohol restrictions adopted by the Turkish Parliament May 24 will damage Turkey's image as a progressive and commercial country, representatives of Diageo were quoted as saying by daily Haberturk on May 25.
The world's leading spirits company, which acquired Mey İçki for $2.1 billion in 2011, owns the country's leading rakı brand as well as a well-known wine brand.
The company's representatives said such radical and restrictive measures taken precipitately would have a dissuasive effect on investors. Diageo representatives added they would focus on other markets in the future. "Diageo operates in 180 countries across the world. But we haven't given up on Turkey," a representative said.
'Promises weren't kept'
The company also said the government had made promises regarding legislation in a separate interview published by daily Hürriyet May 25. "We would have appreciated it if we had had an opportunity to give our opinion in the process so far. As a party that will be severely affected, we would still understand if such an opportunity were seized in the future," it said, adding that they were ready to work with authorities to fight with the problems related to alcoholism.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been the architect of the new law banning retailers from selling alcoholic beverages between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and severely restricting advertising and promotion campaigns of alcoholic drink companies. According to the bill, Previously acquired licenses to sell alcohol will remain valid, but to get new ones, facilities will be required to be located more than 100 meters from educational and religious centers.
Drinking alcohol in public parks to be forbidden
Istanbul deputy Cevdet Erdöl, who is also the head of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's medical team, told daily Hürriyet that alcohol consumption in public parks would also be banned while permission will be required to consume on beaches and in picnic areas.
"The more alcohol, the more crime, from violence to sexual abuse. We don't keep records on it but if you look at the intensive care units you will see that the cause of 60-70 percent of accidents is alcohol," Erdöl said, comparing drinking alcohol with carrying a gun.
"I don't want anyone to hit the bottle near my kid. The comparison is not perfectly adequate, but [drinking alcohol] is like carrying a gun," Erdöl said. He also added that all images on TV showing people drinking alcohol could be removed, instead of merely being blurred.