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Turkey’s Relationship With Alcohol

15th February 2016

We’ve already looked at the frequently asked questions in regards to Turkey’s alcohol laws and as you may know alcohol in Turkey doesn’t come cheap due to the high tax rates imposed on it. While research as shown that the high prices haven’t caused alcohol consumption to diminish yet, it’s possible that the high price of alcohol will have an effect in the future.

The High Price of Alcohol
The increased alcohol tax was brought into effect in 2010 and further raised again in 2014, the move to raise tax was highly controversial and as led to rise in the bootlegging of alcohol. Much like the smoking ban public reaction to rise in alcohol tax and the generally strict rules towards alcohol licensing and advertising has been mixed.

The price of beer in Turkey is on average around 30 % higher than in the UK or United States and the difference in spirits like Vodka is even higher with prices being around 50 % higher on average. Since the rules came into effect there’s been strong interest overseas on the impact the strict laws could have on Turkey’s tourism industry.

For example the British newspaper the Guardian theorised that increased tax could have a dramatic effect on the Turkish nightlife. However the government has strongly argued that the strict laws are aimed at improving public health and protecting children. While people opposed to the stricter laws have argued that if Turkey is really a secular state then it shouldn’t have the right to impose laws regulating when people can purchase alcohol.

The Arguments For and Against
Both sides of the argument do have valid points, while the strict laws and high prices of alcoholic drinks would in theory help prevent alcohol related crimes like drink driving or drunk and disorderly offences it could also be quite damaging to Turkey’s reputation. Particularly in places like Istanbul which are known to have a fun and active nightlife.

While there’re different cultural values and sensitivities to take into account the main issue for many tourists (and possibly expats as well) is the price. And while Turkey is currently struggling to attract tourists due to a variety of reasons the added issue of alcoholic drinks being so expensive is another roadblock Turkey really could do without.

But clearly flowing the market with cheaper alcoholic drinks isn’t a viable solution either. Finding a middle ground for this sort of issue is going to be difficult but if the government could find a solution to keep both groups happy it would certainty help the struggling tourism industry. 

Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team

Turkish Residence Permit


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Comments (1)


16th February 2016 If the government is so anti-alcohol does anyone know why they withdrew the alcohol-free lager which Efes used to sell? It was much better for you than the normal EFes, much cheaper and really quite pleasant

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