Turkey adopts similar legislation to the U.S. on alcohol sales

Published 24.05.2013 14:36
Updated 24.05.2013 17:20

Turkish lawmakers have passed a bill in parliament to impose a number of tightened regulations on alcohol advertising and sales, similar to the strict restrictions in place in America.

The assembly approved a bill on Thursday which will tighten regulations imposed on alcohol sales and advertising similarly to the prohibitions in place in Europe and the United States. The changes in legislation proposed in the bill include the prohibition of alcohol sales in stores between the hours of 22:00- 06:00, a strict ban on advertising and displaying warnings on liquor bottles.

Proposed by ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Nurettin Canikli and AK Party Ankara Deputy Cevdet Erdöl, the bill first aims to regulate the promotion of alcohol through advertisements and on television shows.

PROMOTING AND ADVERTISEMENT RESTRICTIONS: Imagery glorifying the consumption of alcoholic beverages will no longer be allowed on shows, films and music videos broadcasted on television. Alcoholic beverages and their brands will no longer be allowed to be advertised in any way. The only exception will be for the international marketing of alcoholic beverages in international fairs.

The consumption of these products will no longer be encouraged nor promoted in campaigns. Alcohol manufacturers, importers and marketers will no longer be allowed to distribute giveaways of their products. Companies will no longer be allowed to promote their brand or logos on items unless they happen to be placed on items that are an inherent part of the sale of the product in licensed venues.

SALES RESTRICTIONS: Alcoholic beverages will not be sold to minors under the age of 18. Nor will minors be allowed to be employed in locations where alcohol is produced, marketed or sold.

According to the bill, retailers will no longer be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 22:00-06:00. Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed to be sold in vending machines nor may they be sold through publications, orders placed by telephone, television or internet or by cargo or mail.

Alcohol may be purchased to be consumed at licensed venues; however sales will not be allowed for alcohol consumed outside of the venue. The open consumption of alcoholic beverages will only be permitted in authorized locations.

With the exception of accommodation facilities, alcohol sales will not be allowed at any venue or facility situated along highways or state roads. Alcohol sales will also be prohibited in education, health and sports facilities.

HEALTH WARNING: Notices that warn of the dangers of consumption will be included in the packaging of alcoholic beverages. The sale of alcoholic beverages that do not contain health warnings will be prohibited. The format and content of these notices will be determined by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.

"Banned for the night prayers, free for the morning prayers"

Main Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi stated that after revisions were made by the commission to the strict measures in the original draft, a number of proposals were revisited by the General Assembly and passed on Thursday.

Commenting on the new restriction of retail sales of alcoholic beverages between the hours of 22:00-06:00, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Şırnak Deputy Hasip Kaplan stated, "It is now banned during the night prayers and allowed during the morning prayers."

In response to the BDP Deputy's comment, the head of the Planning and Budget Commission, Lütfü Elvan stated, "This stance referring to the night and morning prayers has greatly saddened me. Time restrictions are implemented in practically the entire world's developed nations. In Sweden, alcohol sales are prohibited after 19:00 on weekdays, after 15:00 on Saturdays and are forbidden 24 hours on Sunday. There are time restrictions established in all Scandinavian countries."

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