Turkish main opposition leader says he will lower special consumption tax on alcohol products

Main opposition CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu has said that he will lower the special consumption tax on alcoholic beverages after assuming power in the upcoming elections.

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Jan. 8 criticized the excessive and successive price hikes on beverages with high alcohol content.

“Price hikes on alcoholic beverages are cruel. The state cannot besiege, harass or disturb a way of life. The state needs to protect every way of life. This is one of the important issues that I will fix by rearranging the taxes after six months (after assuming power),” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a tweet.

His remarks came after the government increased the special consumption tax (ÖTV) on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages by 22.29 percent with the start of new year. Together with the price hikes of companies, the prices of drinks with high alcohol content were raised by up to 50 percent.

Critics accuse President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of imposing Islamic values on the country through steps such as steep tax hikes on alcohol and cigarettes.

For December, the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported an annual inflation rate of 64.27, whereas the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 137.55%.