Alcohol ban takes effect in Turkish city, reactions rise

Hürriyet

AFYONKARAHİSAR – A recent governor directive bans the open sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, for the stated purposes of preventing crime in an Agean province.

This file photo shows people enjoying their picnic at a recreation site. according to the new regulations, the open sale and consumption of alcohol in parks, gardens, open spaces, highways, picnic areas, historical ruins and the interior of all vehicles will be prohibited. Consumption of alcohol is also banned in a number of public spaces. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

The governor’s office in the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar has banned the open sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, for the stated purposes of preventing crime, alcohol-related traffic accidents and conserving public order.

The open sale and consumption of alcohol in parks, gardens, open spaces, highways, picnic areas, historical ruins and the interior of all vehicles will be prohibited in accordance with the new directive issued by Afyonkarahisar Gov. İrfan Balkanlıoğlu, daily Hürriyet reported. The directive also bans the consumption – but not sale – of alcohol in train stations, bus terminals, squares, avenues, streets, historical and cultural venues, places of worship, abandoned structures, construction zones, cemeteries, ATMs, promenades, stairwells, underneath bridges and inside commercial buildings.

Opposite views

An official from Afyon Governor’s Office, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Hürriyet Daily News on April 27 that the prohibition did not extend to licensed cafes, bars or restaurants and added that their only goal was to provide peaceful public places for residents.

“Alcohol consumption on the streets is already forbidden; there is nothing new about that. The notice is against those who consume alcohol in their cars in public parks,” the official told the Daily News.
Opposition politicians, however, attacked the decision.

“Those who bother others by using alcohol should not be [equated] with those who don’t,” said Nevzat Ercan of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). “We are concerned about whether further regulations will follow.”

CHP Afyon deputy Ahmet Toptaş told the Daily News that the decision is a part of “government efforts for designing a monotype society.”

“The governor’s decision is inexplicable. Drinking alcohol in parks or streets is already banned according to the misdemeanor law. But there’s a secret motive behind this decision. The main reason of this decision is to design a monotype society in accordance with the government’s mentality,” Toptaş said.

However, Afyon Health Workers’ Association head Ümit Yusuf Aydın said the decision was good. “Alcohol is unhealthy, and using alcohol is a habit that can tempt others.”

Violators of the regulation will be fined 82 Turkish Liras, according to the Doğan news agency.
According to the governor’s office, the new measure was put into effect because alcohol consumption inside private vehicles had turned into a habit leading to traffic accidents, and because alcohol users had settled in certain locations in the city, causing disturbances to those around them. “Requisite, preventive measures are going into effect for the purpose of crime prevention and to maintain public welfare, peace and security inside provincial borders,” the directive said.

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