Istanbul vendor detained for selling alcohol during full lockdown

A vendor in Istanbul was detained for selling alcohol, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 4. Alcohol sales have been at the center of national controversy as Turkey banned alcohol sales during its full lockdown.

Duvar English

A vendor in Istanbul was detained by police for selling alcoholic beverages, Liquor Stores Solidarity Association Erol Dündar told the daily Cumhuriyet on May 4, shortly after a national debate over alcohol sales. 

Turkey debated whether alcohol sales were banned for the majority of last week ahead of the full lockdown that began on April 29. 

A new decree released by the Interior Ministry soon after midnight on May 4 banned the sale of all goods except essentials in grocery stores starting on May 7 "in addition" to the alcohol sales ban, although Ankara had never stated the ban in official documents. 

"They can't do anything, the worst thing they can do would be to write up a fine for a misdemeanor," Dündar said about the vendor detained for alcohol sales in Istanbul.

A decree from the Istanbul Governor's Office has ordered the closure of all small businesses categorized as "liquor stores," but grocery stores continued to sell alcohol during the lockdown, Dündar added. 

"They haven't given us legal proof, they just say 'alcohol sales are banned.' If that was the case, grocery stores wouldn't be able to sell it either," the chairman said.

Other liquor store owners also told Cumhuriyet daily that they hadn't received official documentation of the ban, and the chairman said they predict oppression to continue until the end of the lockdown on May 17.