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    Turkish official defends new stricter alcohol regulations

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    22.10.2008 - 14:23 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkey's tobacco and alcohol regulator has defended the recent draft regulation on alcoholic beverages, saying it is aimed at protecting the nation’s youth, not at reducing the level of alcohol consumption in the country.

    "We don't intend to impose a ban on alcohol consumption. Could such a ban be applied? Alcohol has been consumed throughout history of humanity. The aim is to protect youth,” said Kazim Caliskan, president of the Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) speaking to daily Milliyet.

    "It is our duty to protect children and youth against alcohol and tobacco,” he was quoted by the Turkish Daily News (TDN) as saying. He added the regulation could be objected to through judicial channels.

    TAPDK prepared a draft regulation on alcohol would affect all processes related with the advertising and sponsorship, sale and production, and consumption of alcohol. Producers, meanwhile, have objected to the project saying the move would negatively affect the industry and was aimed at reducing alcoholic consumption.

    Caliskan said the move anticipated a ban on alcohol producers acting as named sponsors of sports events and tournaments.

    "We are still working on the new draft, which was also sent to all alcohol producers for their opinions. The draft will be sent to the related ministries when we finalize it. Suggestions will be taken into account during that process."

    He said the draft was modeled on similar regulations around the world and in line with agreements to which Turkey was a party, and added most of the restrictions included in the regulation were already in force.

    Alcohol producers were unable to sponsor sporting events in most countries, with the exception of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, he said.

    "There would be restrictions on similar sponsorship activities in Turkey as well. Is it right for a rakı producer to sponsor the Turkish national team? Sports events shouldn't be associated with alcohol in the eyes of children," he added.

    The number of businesses selling alcohol in Turkey has decreased by 12.6 percent over the past three years, according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen International Measurement Service. The figure fell from 58,649 in 2005 to 51,268 in the first quarter of 2008. According to the survey, 7,381 locations that earlier sold alcoholic beverages no longer do.

    The media have reported many incidents taking place in ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) municipalities, claiming the ruling party-run municipalities were reluctant to renew licenses to sell alcohol and businesses selling alcohol faced pressure.

    Shop owner Mehmet Sahin was recently beaten by city police in Ankara's Kecioren district for selling alcohol. Alcohol is also banned in all historic buildings belonging to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

    Photo: Hurriyet Archives









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