Turkey bans alcohol advertising, curbs sales

Reuters , Friday 24 May 2013

The question of restricting public freedoms will probably be a source of concern to the European union, which Turkey is hardly working to win its membership

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, left, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk together during a welcoming ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, May 23, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Turkey banned alcohol advertising and increased restrictions on alcohol sales on Friday in a move likely to anger secularist Turks who accuse the government of having an Islamic agenda.

The sale of alcohol will be outlawed from 10 pm to 6 am. Alcohol producers will have to place health warnings on packaging.

The law, which needs presidential approval before coming into effect, also bans alcohol-producing companies from sponsoring events and venues where alcohol is sold and consumed can no longer openly display drinks.

Turkey is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation with a secular constitution. Critics of the ruling AK Party say it is responsible for Islamism taking root in Turkey. Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol.

Conservative Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government denies those accusations.

It says it is not trying to limit people's freedoms but aims to bring Turkey, which wants to join the European Union, up to European standards by tightening restrictions on the sale of alcohol and protecting the young.

Since coming to power in 2002, the ruling party has taken various measures to limit alcohol consumption, including imposing high taxes on alcoholic drinks. National carrier Turkish Airlines has stopped serving alcohol on some domestic flights.

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