Turkey places ban on liquor stores during lockdown, stirs controversy

A Turkish government decision to shut liquor stores during the full lockdown has triggered a debate, with business owners decrying unfair competition.

Supermarkets, butcher shops and grocer shops will operate between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the lockdown but liquor stores (known as Tekel stores in Turkey) will be closed during this period.

According to the lockdown rules, sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets or other stores will also not be allowed.

“Many Tekel stores also serve as a grocery shop, selling newspapers, and basic food items such as bread, yoghurt and water to their customers in the neighborhoods. They are not only selling alcoholic beverages,” said Ferihan Karasu from an umbrella organization representing Tekel stores.

The matter should not be narrowed down to alcohol sales, there is another angle to it, Karasu added.

The decision regarding the Tekel stores creates unfair competition because grocery stores will be open and if their shops will close for another three weeks, it would be very difficult for them to keep their businesses afloat, she said, demanding an exemption from the government.

Meanwhile, the alcohol ban was widely debated and criticized on social media platforms.


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