Turkey's ban on all but 'essential' goods during full lockdown raises eyebrows

Turkey's Interior Ministry banned the sale of all goods except for "essentials" in stores across the country as part of COVID-19 restrictions. The decree dated May 4 closely followed a nationwide debate over a ban on alcohol sales.

Duvar English

Turkey's Interior Ministry released a decree on May 4 that banned the sale of all goods except essentials by all grocery stores, chains and small businesses alike, during the nationwide COVID-19 full lockdown. 

The ministry issued the May 4 decree after 1 a.m., closely following a nationwide debate over the sale of alcohol, which Ankara banned during the national COVID-19 lockdown until May 17.

The May 4 decree once again raised suspicion over the motivation behind the regulation.

"Grocery stores, including chains and supermarkets, will only be allowed to sell pet food and cosmetics, other than essential food and hygiene products, starting on May 7," the Interior Ministry said. 

The ministry banned the sale of electronics, toys, stationery supplies, clothing, home decor, auto accessories, gardening tools and miscellaneous items "in addition to the previous ban on alcoholic products," the decree said. 

The ministry had to release a second set of information to clarify the restrictions, noting that opticians will also need to shut down during the restrictions, but that anyone involved in agricultural production is exempt from the lockdown. 

Meanwhile, social media users voiced their concern over a ban on the sale of tobacco as part of the regulations, with the Turkish word for "cigarette" rising to the top trending topic on Twitter in the early hours of the day.