Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey: Islamist AKP crimps alcohol consumption - targeting the secular

Rome, Nov. 19 (AKI) - Turkey's ruling Islamist-rooted AKP party has ratcheted up taxes on alcoholic beverages to since it has been in power. As as a direct result, alcohol consumption in Turkey dropped 34 percent from 2003-2008, according to research by the Istanbul University of Bahcesehir.

According to the study, the government intends to bring tax on alcoholic beverages up to 30 percent.

Turkey's ruling AKP or Justice and Development party is keen to discourage alcohol consumption, which it considers anti-Islamic behaviour.

In 2002, the first year the AKP was in office, the price of alcohol, including that of traditional drinks, soared 129 percent.

As a result of the tax hike on alcohol, the anice flavoured spirit raki became a luxury drink, retailing at 35 dollars per litre.

In his blog, the prominent Turkish economist and commentator Mustafa Sonmez accuses in the AKP of trying to put restaurants and shops out of business due with the high alcoholic beverage tax.

The squeeze on alcohol could have serious social as well as economic repercussions, pushing young people towards other, more affordable drugs, according to Sonmez.

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