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Turkey’s Alcohol Laws – The Frequently Asked Questions

29th December 2015

We don’t often look at a countries alcohol laws but it’s something everyone should make time to do. Whether they’re just holidaying or making a permanent move. To help outline Turkey’s Alcohol Laws let’s look at some frequently asked questions.

How do the alcohol laws affect expats and holiday makers?

Holiday makers aren’t likely going to be affected by alcohol laws that much, holiday makers can still drink alcohol on their holidays without a issue.

Most bars and popular tourist resorts and spots will have alcohol available for sale, and some places in cities such as Istanbul (which is a popular spot for Arab holidaymakers) will have establishments that don’t sell alcohol of any kind.

Expats are slightly more affected by the alcohol laws, as it means they can't purchase alcohol at certain times. Shops in Turkey from 10PM – 6AM won’t sell alcohol, restaurants and bars are not affected by this law.

How old do I have to be to buy alcohol?

The legal age to buy alcohol is currently 18, you may have to show proof of age if you do not look of age to the cashier/barman.

At what times is it legal to sell alcohol?

From May 2013 it has been illegal to sell alcohol in shops in Turkey from 10PM – 6AM. Restaurants and bars are not affected by this law.

Where is it legal and illegal to sell alcohol?

It’s legal to sell alcohol is shops, restaurants, bars and other similar establishments like hotels for example which will usually have an on-site bar or lounge. However certain restrictions do apply, shops cannot sell alcohol from 10PM – 6PM.

It’s also illegal to sell alcohol within 100 metres of a mosque or school. The advertising of alcoholic beverage on television is also restricted, alcoholic beverages appearing on television have to be blurred. And liquor bottles also carry warning labels.  

The advertising of alcohol in Turkey?

Laws introduced in 2013 significantly cracked down on the advertising of alcohol in Turkey. Due to this law images of alcoholic beverages in Turkey have to be blurred on television. Liquor bottles are also labelled with warnings about the potential harms of alcohol. (This is similar to laws the UK imposes on cigarettes)

What is the legal limit to drive?

Stricter sentences where imposed for drink drivers in 2013, with a maximum possible sentence of two years imprisonment if you’re found guilty of drink-driving, fines and a suspension of your license are also possible punishments. The legal limit of alcohol is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. 

What drinks are available in Turkey?

There’s a great range of different alcohol drinks available in Turkey including a range of beers, wines, spirits and the traditional Turkish drink of rakı. You can read our very own guides about Turkey’s wines and beers on 

Alcohol Tax?

Tax on alcohol in Turkey was raised dramatically in 2010 and then again 2014, and due to this the price of alcohol drinks may be higher than you are used to. However despite this reports have shown that alcohol consumption hasn’t diminished

Fake alcohol?

Due to the high tax rates imposed on alcohol in Turkey, counterfeiters have made bootlegging fake alcohol a lucrative business. Turkish authorities have been clamping down on fake alcohol, but it’s still possible that you’ll encounter it. To learn how to spot and avoid fake alcohol check out Yellali’s guide.

Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team



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