The Ankara Bar Association has filed a lawsuit with Turkey's top administrative court Council of State for the suspension and cancellation of the government's ban on alcohol sales during the 17-day COVID-19 full lockdown.
The bar association noted that the ban was not included in the Interior Ministry's circular which details the measures for the upcoming two and a half weeks.
Referring to the government's decision as “arbitrary, causeless and unlawful,” the bar association said: “The ban on alcohol sales during the full closure days is the abuse of authority of limiting basic rights.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) said that it has not advised any of its member businesses not to sell alcohol as the Interior Ministry has not yet covered the ban in a circular.
“We will naturally continue to sell [alcohol]. If a circular is issued with regards to the ban and we receive a notice, then we will do what is necessary and tell our whole organization not to sell [alcohol],'” Bendevi Palandöken was quoted as saying by daily Sözcü on April 29.
“If a business is fined [for selling alcohol], on which law article will this be based? What will be the amount of the fine? There is no ban out in the open, so there is no such fine,” he said.
The government's decision to ban alcohol sales during the full lockdown that started on April 29 evening has been said to be President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's latest imposition of a religious lifestyle on all of society.
Erdoğan announced the lockdown on April 26, saying schools and most shops would be closed and people would be required to mostly stay at home in order to curb a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
On April 27, his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government announced that alcohol sales would also be banned until May 17, prompting citizens to rush to stock up drinks cabinets before the measures came into force.
Citizens have said the ban had nothing to do with fighting the pandemic and pointed out that one of the exemptions from lockdown covered people praying at mosques.