Alcohol in Turkey for tourists -
- Is it dangerous to drink local drinks and where to buy alcohol
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The situation with alcohol in Turkey is very complicated. On the one hand, there are no bans on the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages, which is rarely found in an Islamic country. On the other hand, in the hotels of Turkey on the system "all inclusive" the quality of strong alcoholic drinks is terrible. In addition, many readers remember cases of mass poisoning of tourists with deaths. We will discuss all this in this article.
Turkey is a secular country where 99% of the population professes Islam. Turks are proud of their rights and freedom of choice, and the attitude to alcohol here is loyal.
According to the latest poll, 87% of Turks do not drink alcoholic beverages at all under any pretext. As far as this figure corresponds to reality, it is difficult to say.
Judging by the official figures for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the country, she is not far from the truth. Turks drink 1.5 liters per capita per year. For comparison, in Russia, consumption is 11.5 liters per person.
But such figures are not enough for the Turkish government, and they constantly impose a restriction on trade and consumption of alcohol. We will discuss these restrictions in detail at the end of this article.
Turkey produces its alcoholic beverages. The beer brand "Efes Pilsen" is familiar to many Russians. It is a large international corporation that owns breweries in Russia. In Russia, the Turks own such brands as: "Golden Barrel", "Old Miller", "Zhigulevskoye" and "Three Bogatyrs". Just think! The brand "Three heroes" belongs to the Turks! This is a parade of absurdity.
Turkey produces its own wine. The country takes the fourth place in the world for the area of vineyards - 505 thousand hectares. As for the production of wine, Turkey occupies a modest 37th place in the world. Most of the Turkish grapes are exported, and any reader can find it in Russian supermarkets.
Before you start to review the situation with alcohol in Turkish hotels, you need to talk about its cause - astronomical taxes on alcohol products in Turkey.
Taxes on alcohol
Sale of alcoholic beverages in Turkey is subject to a large number of direct and indirect taxes.
With each sold bottle of alcohol, VAT is paid, the same VAT. In Turkey, it is 18%, just like in Russia.
In Turkey, a special group of taxes on consumption is levied. These taxes apply to four types of goods. These are: 1. petrol and fuel, 2. cars and other transport, 3. tobacco and alcohol, and 4. perfume.
At the time of writing, the state takes 0.85 Turkish lira per liter for beer, 4.59 lira for wine, and 107.72 lire per liter for a strong drink of "crayfish."
Speaking of beer, Turkish taxes are comparable to excise duties in Russia (20 rubles per liter in 2015). But taxes on wine and "crayfish" are simply astronomical, if compared with excise taxes on wine and vodka in Russia. Excise on wine in 2015 in Russia - 9 rubles per liter, and for vodka - 200 rubles per liter. That is, taxes on wine and strong drinks in Turkey are about 10 times higher than in Russia.
In addition, every hotel must receive two permits to sell alcohol to its guests. In addition to the usual license, they need a special license from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
If alcohol is imported, then it is necessary to pay a separate tax for it. At best, the tax is 50% of the cost of drinks, and indefinitely. The amount of tax varies depending on the type of drink, the content of alcohol in it and the country of origin.
For example, whiskey from the United States is taxed about 700%. For us, this figure seems to be a nightmare, but for Turkey this is normal.
If in the hotels in Turkey all the drinks were officially decorated and all taxes would have been paid, then rest in this country according to the "all inclusive" system would be available only to the richest Russians.
Do not think that we are trying to justify Turkish hotels or the government. Not at all! We just explain to the reader their motivation and explain the reasons for what is happening.
Alcohol in hotels
About 90% of hotels in Turkey spill counterfeit, counterfeit or contraband alcohol. In this there is no secret for anyone. The government does not even try to fight it. Everyone understands that the tourism industry of the country will become uncompetitive if to legalize alcohol in hotels.
For the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers need to fight. For tourists from Russia, the Turks have to compete with Egypt. Alcohol in Egypt is of low quality, but it is cheap.
For the European tourist Turks compete with Tunisia and Morocco. Alcohol in Tunisia is both cheap and quality. Competition for a drinking Europeans Turkey loses. Only drinking Germans are flying here with a stable tourist flow, as beer in Turkey is normal.
With beer, the situation in hotels is good. Turkish beer of good quality, and its price for hotels is acceptable. Beer in Turkish hotels can be drunk without fear.
With wine the situation is slightly worse. Turkish wine is considered to be "average" in terms of quality. Prices for local wine in Turkey are high, and hotels often prefer to buy "left" wine, which does not pay taxes. Cases of wine poisoning in the country are very rare.
With strong drinks, the situation is simply catastrophic. Only very expensive hotels serve guests completely official strong alcohol. Almost all vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila in Turkey or fake, or counterfeit, and contraband. The quality of these drinks can be quite acceptable. And you can poison yourself. This is a big lottery, and there have been cases when tourists in this lottery lost the most valuable - their lives.
Mass poisoning in 2011
This incident occurred on May 26, 2011. A group of employees of tourist firms rested at a party on a yacht, sailing from Bodrum to Antalya. The next morning, many felt bad. 25 people were hospitalized, 5 of whom died.
These people were poisoned with methyl alcohol, which was contained in fake whiskey, which they drank in the cocktail.
The names of the victims: Marina Sheveleva, Maria Shalyapina, Aigul Zalaeva, Alexander Zhuchkov and Victoria Nikolaeva. We hope that this list of victims will never be replenished. The Turkish authorities say they have strengthened the control of imported alcohol. We hope that this is done in practice, and not just in words.
This case shows that in Turkey alcohol is delivered to hotels uncontrollably, and tourists can get into the glasses of tourists, and even the deadly poison is methyl alcohol.
Therefore, we advise - drink beer and wine. Refrain from cocktails and strong alcoholic beverages. Health is more expensive. If you can not do without strong alcohol, then carry with you.
Rules of importation
The customs rules in Turkey are a bit confusing. They sound like this: you can import one bottle of 1 liter or 2 bottles with a volume of up to 0.75 liters of wine and / or a strong alcoholic beverage. Why did the Turks have to come up with such a difficult definition? We do not know.
In short, you can bring two bottles of strong alcohol in volume of 0.75 liters per person. Most tourists have enough.
If you do not want to risk drinking alcohol at the hotel, or you do not tour according to the "all inclusive" system, you can buy alcohol in stores, but not all the time and not all stores.
The rules of alcohol trade in Turkey
Since the beginning of the century, the Turkish authorities are actively introducing restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the country.
Almost every year, taxes on alcoholic beverages increase. Once in several years, new restrictions are introduced. In 2008, authorities banned retail outlets from selling alcohol.
In 2014, the largest package of restrictions was introduced. Alcohol was allowed to be sold only from 6:00 to 22:00. It is forbidden to sell alcohol within 100 meters of schools and mosques. On the packaging there were inscriptions about the dangers of alcohol consumption.
Advertising of alcoholic beverages was completely banned. It touched on sponsorship and PR mentions in films and on television. If someone in the movie drinks beer, then the image of the drink must necessarily be "greased" or covered with a black square.
An interesting fact is that until 2014 in Turkey there was a basketball team "Efes Pilsen". In 2014, it had to be renamed, as the authorities recognized the team itself as advertising beer. Now the team is called "Anadolu Efes SK".
Alcohol can not be sold in educational and medical institutions, student dormitories, sports clubs and gas stations. Until 2014, Turkey was one of the most loyal to the alcohol countries of Europe, and now the restrictions are one of the most stringent.
Alcohol is not sold to persons under 18 years of age. In 2014, a restriction was imposed on the sale of alcohol to persons under 24 years of age at mass events, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision - unconstitutionally.
It would seem - what else can you think of? But officials in Turkey have a rich imagination. In 2015, they banned the inclusion of alcohol in traditional New Year gift baskets. Probably, they will come up with many more cheerful restrictions. Wait and see.
In addition, there are local restrictions that depend on the region of the country. In some places beer can only be drunk in a package, alcohol may not be sold anywhere on Friday and the like.
We are confident that our advice will be useful. Read our other articles about Turkey ( links below ).
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