• Is it safe to drink alcoholic beverages in Turkey in 2019?

Posted by isturkeysafe

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Last Update : Monday, July 22, 2019


In recent years, it is often asked whether alcoholic beverages are safe and legal in Turkey. In Turkey, drinking alcoholic beverages of individuals over the age of 18 is completely legal. There are a large number of local people who prefer not to drink for religious reasons, but there is no problem for drinkers, especially if you are traveling as a tourist. You can buy all kinds of alcoholic beverages at many supermarkets in all parts of Turkey (like Migros, click here for MIGROS Supermarkets Turkey), also there are many restaurants serving alcoholic beverages.

The only restriction on alcoholic beverages is the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets after 10 pm. If you are thinking to drink at your place during night, you need to buy it before 10 pm. However, there is no restriction in the bars / restaurants / hotels which serve alcoholic beverages, alcohol can be served 24 hours a day.
Of course, as mentioned, the age is also important. Minimum legal drinking age in Turkey is 18. Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold or served to people who are not over the age of 18 in any purpose. If there is any doubt about the age of the customer, the seller can legally request to see the identity card of the costumer to check the age.
In Turkey, disturbing the peace of other people when get drunk is prohibited by law. In parallel, drinking alcohol in public places (parks, streets, etc.) may be prohibited by the governor of the city. Drinking beer on the beach all night long may sound romantic at first, but it may be useful to receive information from local people prior to do that in order to avoid legal issues.
A different subject worth mentioning; although it is not a direct a safety issue in general, there is a possibility that alcoholic beverages served at the all-inclusive hotels in Turkey may be mixed with water. There are thousands of all-inclusive hotels in Turkey; and in order to maximize the profit, unfortunately mixing water into alcoholic beverages is common. Generally, all-inclusive service at this type of hotels does not include bottled drinks. So keep this in mind if you get drunk longer than usual.

Legal permission is required for the production of alcoholic beverages in Turkey, a strong control mechanism is being carried on production by Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. Sometimes, illegal alcoholic beverages production cases may be encountered. Harmful ingredients can be used for this purpose, so it is very important to buy alcoholic beverages from reliable sources (alcoholic drinks shops, supermarkets, etc.) and check the permission label on the bottle.
22 July 2019 Update
As a result of additional taxes in 2019, Turkey has become one of the countries with the most expensive alcoholic beverages. Even with 2018 prices, Turkey is one of Europe's top 5 countries in terms of the cost of the alcoholic beverages; check it from the following link.Eurostats Price Level Indices. For example, you can buy Turkish Raki abroad with much cheaper price than in Turkey. When this is the case, unfortunately the news of fake alcoholic beverages increases every day. Although the food ministry controls it tightly, considering the population and size of the country, it is not possible to prevent it completely due to this high alcohol prices. In July 2019, at Adana (one of the southern provinces of Turkey), about 20 people lost their lives due to suspected methyl alcohol poisoning. Check the link below for more information.
Therefore, it is very important not to buy alcoholic beverages from unknown sources. It is very important for your health not to buy alcoholic beverages other than supermarkets and authorized dealers in Turkey.

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