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Turkey: AKP Intent on Curbing Drinking, While Guns Proliferate

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A boy plays next to a case displaying air guns and handguns that shoot blanks.

Following the June 12 parliamentary elections, it may become harder to have a drink in Turkey but still relatively easy to fire a gun.

The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), a political organization rooted in moderate Islam, supports a measure that would increase the drinking age nationwide from 18 to 24. At the same time, the party has helped to squash efforts to tighten gun ownership rules.

The AKP is expected to retain control of parliament following the upcoming elections. According to the owners of bars and liquor stores in Istanbul and elsewhere, it is the size of the victory margin that will be a key factor in determining whether the drinking-age measure moves forward. Whereas in the past such a change would have seemed unthinkable, observers now believe the AKP may end up with a sufficiently large electoral margin that it will feel secure in pushing the measure through.

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Jonathan Lewis is a freelance photojournalist based in Istanbul.

Turkey: AKP Intent on Curbing Drinking, While Guns Proliferate

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