Turkey: "Alcohol Not Your Friend," Ankara to Tell Citizenry
Thanks to sweeping new alcohol regulations passed by their parliament a few months ago, Turkish drinkers have had to come to terms with having greater restrictions on where and during what time they can buy a drink. Now, as part of the new law, they will also have to learn that alcohol is no longer their friend. Reports the Hurriyet Daily News:
Signs warning about the possible harms of alcohol consumption will be placed on the bottles of alcoholic beverages within 10 months, according to a statement published in the Official Gazette Aug. 11.
The statement about the warning labels to be put on alcoholic beverage packages, which was released by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK), specified three graphic warning signs and a written message to be placed on bottles containing alcohol.
Pictures will involve warnings against consumption under the age of 18, before driving and during pregnancy, while the written message will read, “Alcohol is not your friend.”
The warnings will not be permitted to be hidden, covered, cut out or placed on additions and will have specific font sizes according to the mass of the packages. The warnings and message will be printed in black on a white background with a red frame enclosing the warning.
Members of Turkey's ruling party, the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), certainly seem to understand that alcohol is an unfriendly presence -- in any context. According to news reports, at a Aug. 9 meeting at a cultural center in the city of Bursa, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc asked a singer not to sing a particular classic folk song because the lyrics mentioned raki, the anise-flavored spirit long favored by Turkish tipplers -- and itself the subject of recent controversy. (In response to the news about Arinc's request, Turkish raki lovers started Tweeting pictures of raki-filled glasses, many of them using the hashtag "#direnraki," which could be translated as "raki resistance.")
According to the Dogan News Agency, Arinc must have had some kind of change of heart about the tune, since in 2011 he sent out a Tweet saying how much he and his wife were enjoying listening to "Vardar Ovasi," the song in question. Either way, whatever Arinc's true feelings about "Vardar Ovasi," the singer at the Bursa cultural center obliged and sang a different song, one, it is assumed, without any references to alcohol.