By Associated Press, Published: May 24
ANKARA, Turkey — A look at legislation passed in Turkey’s parliament early Friday that would ban all alcohol advertising and tighten restrictions on the sale of such beverages, and how such a law could affect tourists and liquor companies in the mainly Muslim but secular country.
Q: What happened?
A: Tempers flared and scuffles broke out during an all-night legislative session that passed a bill proposed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party to ban all forms of advertising of alcohol — including the promotion of brands and logos — and the sale of alcoholic drinks in shops between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The legislation would prohibit alcohol sales within 100 meters (yards) of mosques and schools. Booze ads already are banned on television in Turkey, but the new law would force TV stations to blur the images of drinks shown anywhere on the screen, even during movies and soap operas. All liquor bottles would display warning signs about the harms of alcohol, and there would be stricter penalties on drunken driving.
The government says the measure would shield Turkey’s youth from the harms of booze, but secular opponents charge it’s another example of the governing party’s encroachment on personal freedoms. The party has a majority in Parliament, and a walkout by the opposition allowed the bill to pass 193 to 4. President Abdullah Gul generally acts in accordance with the government, and he is expected to sign the bill into law.