As Covid-19 figures surge drastically in Turkey over the past week, a growing number of restrictions imposed by Turkish government to curb the exponential rise of the pandemic. However, according to CHP Vice President Veli Ağbaba, the real reason behind some restrictions are purely political and ideological.
One of the recent restrictions include that all grocery and convenience stores that sell alcohol to be closed at 8 pm. Veli Ağbaba advocates that the restriction is simply a further continuation of President Erdogan’s previous efforts to limit alcohol sales caused by AKP’s ideological standpoint on the matter. To recall, the first restriction imposed to slow down the spread of the virus was a nation-wide ban on smoking in public.
CHP Vice President Veli Ağbaba stated earlier, “The unfair restriction of closing all grocery/liquor stores (called “tekel stores in Turkey”) that sell alcohol as early as 8 pm is a political and ideological move by the AKP cabinet. President Erdogan already put more than 150 thousand of subject stores under the gun with his previous attempts; by increasing taxes on alcohol and tobacco at every opportunity he gets. New fines reach 320 thousand TL for stores selling liquor after 10 pm and so on, this sum is enough to bankrupt a small convenience store owner for a very minor fraction. Alcohol sales ban has now been brought forward to 8 pm, which is like a death sentence for all these liquor stores. Tens of thousands of stores will be on the verge of bankruptcy and thousands will become unemployed because of this new regulation.”
Underlining that the recent restriction does not prevent alcohol consumption but increasing fake liquor sales, Ağbaba added, “The 8 pm ban should be prolonged to at least midnight, allowing stores to make house deliveries during lockdown. Such bans and measures like 270% increase on alcohol tax, basically paves the way for fake liquor sales. That is why, as CHP we urge government officials to immediately reorganize these restrictions.”
Ağbaba is certainly right in claiming that steadily increasing bans and restrictions on alcohol sales, as well as onerous taxes turned countless citizens to moonshiners, while fake brands distil from methyl alcohol caused around 100 deaths over the last three months, according to research by PA Turkey.
Translation: Cem Cetinguc
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