Lifestyle & Belief

Turkey prime minister rejects beer as national drink; Turkish beer drinkers are angry


Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP party celebrate after the first results of the parliamentary election, in Ankara, on June 12, 2011. The AKP took a 54.8-percent lead in today's general polls, with 30 percent of the vote counted.


Adem Altan

Turkey's prime minister rejected beer as the country's national drink. Now, the country's secularists are accusing him of being a buzzkill.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in a television interview that the national drink is ayran, a popular, non-alcoholic  lunchtime beverage made of yogurt, water and salt. "Beer was unfortunately presented as a national drink. However, our national drink is ayran,"  he announced. Well, that settles it.

"There is no way you can defend as a lifestyle the consumption of alcohol which has no benefit to society, but on the contrary inflicts harm," Erdogan added.

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His comments provoked an intense social media reaction from the country's hard-drinking secularists. "It's true, all of you drink ayran with your pasta inside your mosques," reads one of the angry, somewhat offensive tweets  that Reuters found.

While Turkey's conservative Muslim population does not drink alcohol, the secular Turks have long maintained that the country's national drink is Raki, an alcoholic beverage.

The Raki industry will probably be especially angry at Erdogan. Soon after he made his pro-yogurt drink comments, shares of Turkey's largest dairy producer immediately jumped 3 percent,  according to the Wall Street Journal.