Turkey continues its rapid re-Islamization. “President GÃ¼l approves law on alcohol sales,” from Today’s Zaman, June 10 (thanks to Joshua):
President Abdullah GÃ¼l on Monday approved a law introducing restrictions to the sale of alcohol.
The law, adopted on May 24 in Parliament and submitted to the president on May 28, has caused a good deal of controversy. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government says the restrictions are in line with EU standards, while its opponents accuse the government of imposing its own religious understanding on others. The president, by law, has had 15 days to examine the draft, and he will either have to return the law to Parliament or approve it. If he returns the draft, Parliament can adopt it either as is or make changes to it to address the president’s concerns.
Another point of controversy was that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan, while introducing the planned restrictions, said Turkey’s “national drink” is ayran — a yoghurt drink — and not rakÄ±, as some people deem it to be. He also said anyone who consumes alcohol is a “drunkard.” His style and the proposal’s aims to restrict the sale of alcohol have led some commentators to see it as a de facto ban on alcohol.
It is also known that GÃ¼l told the presidency’s lawyers to not only inspect the law in legal terms but also in terms of “social perception.” He also promised a worried business delegation last week that he would “do as needed” if he decides there are problems with the law.
The law makes it illegal for establishments that are located within a 100-meter distance of a mosque or a school to sell alcohol. It was in last minute changes to let establishments that have an alcohol license keep it, but not issue new ones for those who are located close to a mosque or a school. It also makes it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages after 10 p.m.