When the Turkish parliament passed last year strict new regulations on where and when alcohol can be sold, among the changes was a stipulation that shops, bars and restaurants selling alcohol could no longer have signs advertising that they sell, well, alcohol.
After an almost year-long grace period, the time has now come for Turkey's groceries and beer shops to take down any mention of booze from their signs. Reports the Hurriyet Daily News:
After June 11, shops and restaurants will be banned from displaying the signs of alcoholic beverage companies, removing another possible source of revenue. Many alcohol companies make deals with shops to pay for signboard costs in exchange for their advertisement. Alcohol advertising was banned in Turkey last year, and shops are now also required to hide alcoholic drinks from their windows.
“It’s alcoholic drink firms that have renewed our shop signs. Without logos, even tourists won’t want to enter the shops. Before, they would come and do their shopping here when they saw famous brands on the signs,” said Yusuf Deniz, a retailer who has been working in Istanbul for 22 years.
The latest measure affects around 250,000 retailers across Turkey. They were initially given a September 2013 deadline to complete the signboard transition, but this period was prolonged following difficulties in implementation.
To get around the regulation, many shop owners are planning to only remove the alcoholic brand logos and will keep the colors and lines that remind customers of them.
Liquor store owners are not the only ones singing the blues in the wake of the new regulations. Alcohol producers and winemakers, especially boutique wineries that are part of Turkey's burgeoning wine scene, have all complained that the new law, which has also put into places new restrictions on promotional events featuring alcoholic drinks, is leaving them at a disadvantage. As mentioned in previous posts on the subject, while the government of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said the new restrictions were passed in order to protect Turkish youth from the evils of alcohol, there is little evidence to show that Turkey's youth -- or adults -- are imbibing too much. In fact, Turkey has one of the world's lowest rates of alcohol consumption, a rate that, even before the new law was passed, was already falling.