Let them drink yogurt! Turkey's parliament tightens alcohol sale restrictions


The Turkish parliament imposed tighter restrictions on the sale and marketing of alcohol Friday in what some say is creeping conservatism being pushed by the ruling party.


Adem Altan

Turkey's parliament passed a bill tightening the sale and advertising of alcohol Friday.

The new law would ban the sale of alcohol in shops between the hours of 10pm and 6:00am, as well as prohibit alcoholic beverage companies from sponsoring events.

The beverage sale rule does not apply to bars and clubs.

Despite the concern that Turkey is moving towards more religious conservatism, the sales ban is actually far less restrictive than even some European countries and parts of the US and Canada. 

The measure was supported by the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), which says that it is working to protect society and children with the new law.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan even suggested that instead of drinking fiery raki, Turks should switch to the other national beverage, a yogurt-based drink called aryan.

The new law also imposes stricter penalties on drunk driving and the consumption of alcohol on television and in movies.

Alcohol sales would also be restricted near mosques and schools.

Securalists have opposed the legislation saying that it is another example of creeping infringements on personal freedom by the government.

President Abdullah Gul must sign the bill before it takes effect.

He is expected to do so shortly.