Ministry denies draft law requiring worship places in shopping malls will extend alcohol ban
Erdinç ÇELİKKAN ANKARA
The officials are seen praying during the opening of a shopping mall in Erzurum province in this file photo.Customs and Trade Ministry officials have denied that the retail draft law that requires all shopping malls to include places of worship will lead to an extension of alcohol restrictions.
The shopping mall draft law prepared by the ministry has drawn reactions from some figures in the sector due to one of its articles, which obligates all shopping malls to include medical intervention rooms, baby care rooms and places of worship.
According to a separate regulation that was passed by Parliament in September 2013, alcohol cannot be sold within 100 meters of any place of worship. Therefore, if all shopping malls included places of worship, it would be difficult to operate shops and restaurants selling alcohol at the legally required 100-meter distance.
Ministry authorities rejected claims that the law, which is expected to be approved in Parliament by the end of the year, would extend already stringent alcohol restrictions, saying they “do not support a repressive mindset.”
“The regulation has not been prepared within the framework of a repressive mindset. Opinions of sector figures and establishments were taken [into account] during works for the draft law. The Alcohol Beverages Ban and the Retail Draft Law don’t support each other. A regulation was needed to respond to people’s demands. When we look at the situation from this angle, we are not thinking about limiting or extending the ban,” an official said.
Turkish Tradesmen’s and Artisans’ Confederation (TESK) head Bendevi Palandöken said he did not think such a limitation would be adopted, adding that the draft law had still yet to be discussed at the commission.
“If a situation like this comes into question, there will be a perception of intervention. Baby care rooms and places of worship should be placed in all shopping malls, but no regulation can be possible [if there are] bans,” Paladöken said.
Business would receive a blow if a regulation with bans or limitations is adopted, he added.
A review of the draft law was previously sent to the ministry by the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD), which said it could cause a reduction in investment due to “uncertainty.”