Monday, January 10, 2011

New Alcohol Laws and Turkey's 'Madisonian Dilemma'

The Turkish parliament has passed a new law increasing restrictions on alcohol sales and marketing. The new law restricts alcohol advertisements at sporting events and youth-centered events (e.g., some concerts), prohibits unauthorized caterers from serving alcohol at special events, imposes a ban on alcohol being used in promotional sales, and raises taxes on raki, an anise-flavored Turkish liquor.

The law heightens concerns that the ruling AKP is legislating its moral values. As Jenny White notes, restrictions on alcohol and high taxes are nothing new.

Legal restrictions on alcohol again raise the question of just how far the AKP is willing to regulate public morals, though AKP politicians routinely sound the note that regulations are concerned with public health and safety and are not an imposition of its own particular moral view. All the same, AKP politicians routinely make statements that emphasize their majority rather than liberal values. For more on AKP's majority politics, see my take on the party's need to resolve Turkey's 'Madisonian Dilemma' and assuage the fears who are now given evermore reason to think that the party is determined to legislate according to its own particular Islamic bent.

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