Istanbul Governor issues circular to ‘prevent’ drinking in public

Istanbul Governor issued a circular demanding the “prevention of drinking in public places” on the grounds that "the people involved in the crimes were alcoholic.” Existing regulations do not prohibit public drinking as long as there is no disturbance to bystanders.

Duvar English

Istanbul Governor Davut Gül on Aug. 17 issued a circular titled "Sale of Alcohol and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages,” requesting the prevention of alcohol consumption in coastal areas, beaches, parks, picnic and recreation areas.

In the circular, the reason for the “preventive measures” was stated as “the persons involved in the criminal incidents were mostly found to be intoxicated.” 

"In the complaints made to the relevant authorities, it has been determined that the persons involved in the incidents that disrupt the public order and disturb the public peace and security within the borders of our province are mostly alcoholic. The people who drink alcohol in public parks, beaches and similar areas cause fear and panic in our citizens by disturbing the environment,” the governor stated.

The governor’s office issued a statement after the public controversy and stated that the decision taken is not a new practice regarding the use and sale of alcohol. The office stated that the relevant authorities were "reminded" to fulfill the obligations cited in the relevant alcohol consumption law.

Nonetheless, there is also a clause in this statement that no drinking is allowed in the parks and similar places.

However, Law No. 5326 on Misdemeanors does not prohibit drinking alcohol in public places; rather, it forbids "engaging in behavior under the influence of alcohol that disturbs the peace and tranquility of others." In response, it entails a fine and stipulates being "kept under control until the effects of intoxication wear off."

Moreover, the Law no. 4250 regulating alcohol sales and cited by the governor's office does not contain an article prohibiting drinking in public spaces.