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A Today's Zaman article:

Harshly criticizing what he says is the promotion of the consumption of alcohol at every possible opportunity, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that Turkey’s national drink is ayran, a traditional drink made of yogurt.

Slamming the regime’s policy of presenting alcoholic drinks such as beer as the national drink in the early republican era, Erdoğan stated that alcohol was widely promoted even in school textbooks during the one-party rule. (between 1923 and 1950)

Speaking at the Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2013 in İstanbul, Erdoğan said the regime in the first decades of the republic presented beer and other alcoholic beverages as healthy drinks.

Hosting an international event attended by around 1,200 health experts from 53 countries, Erdoğan said, reflects his government’s sensitivity over the topic of health as it is working on several projects to proceed with a viable health policy in line with global policies on alcohol.

Recalling that Turkey had celebrated the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Parliament only a few days ago, Erdoğan said one of the first bills introduced to Parliament in April 1920 had been on alcohol.

He said this was of crucial importance as deputies at that time had taken the issue seriously even though the fundamental priority of the newly established parliament was to lead the country’s War for Independence against occupying forces in Anatolia at that time.

Unfortunately, he said, the law could not last as it was removed later on in the early republican era.

The most striking point, Erdoğan stated, was that alcohol was treated as an element of modern life as part of the radical top-down modernization program embarked upon by the elites during the early republican period.

Source: DEAD LINK

Those so called modernists imitated Greek Ouzo and label it as Raki to everyone. This is actually what the PM tried to say and that is true. And Ayran is not the only traditional drink we have. There is also Şerbet

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Raki was made and drunk in the Ottoman empire well before 'modernists' were on the scene.

RAKI made in Anatolia is known as TURKISH RAKI. It's history goes back 300 years. In the near and middle east countries similar drink is known by different names such as ARAKA, ARAKI, ARIKI which obviously comes from the same origin. Some claim that it is called IRAQI (from Iraq) because it was first made in that country and spread to other regions. Others say that its name came from the 'razaki grapes' which it is produced from.

Another theory is that ARAK in Arabic means 'sweat' and is the thing that makes one sweat.

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In Turkey archaeologists have found decorated copper distilling vessels which date back to the Byzantine Empire, which confirm a deep understanding of distillation.

The Sumerians were also distilling alcohol as far back as 2100 BC in the area which was known as the fertile crescent.

It was the Ottomans who took raki to the Balkans, Crete, Greece, Bulgaria Romania etc not the other way round.

Finally Ayran is also drunk in many countries, its called Lassi in India,in Iraq and Jordan its known as Shenina, its called Doogh in Persia and Ayran in Bulgaria and the Balkans.

Get your facts right Turko before you make sweeping statements.

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maybe some people whose native language is not turkish can't understand what you said

You are right there Turko. I don't understand what it means, can somebody explain please?

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He he, yes you're right there is a Russian saying that says 'There can be no ugly women, There can only be not enough vodka'. In the UK we say someone must have been wearing 'beer goggles' if they have been drinking a lot and end up with a ugly person at the end of the evening thinking they were beautiful or handsome. As some women drink as much as men it can apply to either sex.

It makes me think that every country must have the same sort of sayings.

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Do you think that the government is right in trying to cut the amount of alcohol drunk?

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Actually in a way I can understand it. There have been various reports in the papers over the last couple of years in the UK saying that liver disease is increasing among the younger age group and is of some concern. Also in the WHO report dated 2011 they said among other things that

Countries have a primary responsibility for formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating public policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. A substantial scientific knowledge base exists for policy-makers on the effectiveness and cost–effectiveness of the following strategies:

  • regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages, (in particular to younger people)
  • regulating and restricting availability of alcohol
  • enacting appropriate drink-driving policies
  • reducing demand through taxation and pricing mechanisms
  • raising awareness and support for policies
  • providing accessible and affordable treatment for people with alcohol-use disorders; and
  • implementing screening programmes and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful use of alcohol.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en

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According to the World Heath Organisation Turkey consumes 1.37 litres of alcohol per capita per annum which is very low compared to Russia where the average consumption is 15.6 litres of alcohol per person a year and in Moldova a staggering 18.22 litres a year. Posted Image

I think this is part of RTE's drive towards Islam

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I agree with harsh penalties for drinking and driving but I think that if the price of drinks goes up it will have an adverse effect on tourism. Also there will be an increase in illegal stills which could result,as before, in the deaths of people.

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I agree with the increase of illegal still as it was either last year or the year before that a few tourists sadly died of drinking illegal alcohol which had been sold to them on a boat trip, and some others that died after buying drinks in a bar on a holiday resort. And yes it will probably have an effect on the tourist industry as well.

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Turkey’s Traditional Alcoholic Beverage Producers Association (GİSDER) has applied to the DEAD LINK Commission Codex to patent rakı as Turkey’s national drink, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words disowning the traditional drink continue to dominate the country’s public debate.

GİSDER has been working for the past two years in an attempt to patent the drink as “Turkish rakı,” which included initial legal processes at the Turkish Patent Institute. With the patent having been received from Turkish officials, the association now aims to patent the drink abroad, starting with the European Union.....

More

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I can't really see him succeeding as Raki was made in a lot of countries as well as Turkey.

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You have made a valid point TT and I agree with you.

I've always thought that alcohol would be the next target, because of the huge impact it has on hospitals, both in terms of admissions and costs as the NHS in the UK is at breaking point due to shortages of staff and various hospitals being short of money.

I know Turkey doesn't suffer in the same way so their reasons would not be the same and are varied.

Alcohol abuse could be costing the UK up to £6 billion a year in NHS bills, premature death, losses to business and drink-related crimes and accidents, it was claimed today.

A study by the Royal College of Physicians said drink-related health problems could account for up to 12% of total NHS spending on hospitals, about £3 billion.

But campaigners said that with the estimated £3 billion lost through absenteeism, unemployment, premature deaths and alcohol-related crimes and accidents the total cost of excessive drinking is £6 billion.

Read more:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-19699/Alcohol-abuse-costing-Britain-6bn-year.html#ixzz2RpS35Zvw

New figures reveal a huge increase in the number of hospital admissions for people under 30 with alcohol-related liver disease.

The research carried out by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, looks at the number of alcohol-related liver disease hospital admissions in England between 2002 and 2012.

As well as a full England summary, the data is broken down by region, gender and age .

Key findings:

  • 117% increase in alcohol-related liver disease hospital admissions for under 30’s in England since 2002. This figure is worse in certain areas, the north east has seen a 400% increase.
  • 91% increase in alcohol-related liver disease hospital admissions for women in England since 2002. It’s a 114% increase in the Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • 93% increase in alcohol-related liver disease hospital admissions for men in England since 2002. It’s a 152% increase in the East of England

DEAD LINK

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There is a serious drinking problem in the UK approximately 13.37 litres per person per annum in a population of 62,6 million whereas Turkey is no where near that they consume 1.37 litres per person per annum for a population of 73.6 million. Turkey is in the lower regions globally for alcohol consumption so comparing it to the UK is scaremongering.

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We know, but it is still a problem when people think that they are able to drive after drinking and alcohol consumption doesn't help with the violence against women.

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It may be scaremongering, but whilst the figures are low in comparison at the moment, who says they will stay that way and won't grow in the future if nothing is done. Shouldn't it be addressed now rather than wait until it becomes a serious problem as it has in the UK and then little can be done about it?

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I think the scare tactics usually backfire. Why not say, "Hey, Turks- you're doing a pretty good job regarding the drink- keep it up!:

I'll tell you why- because good news doesn't sell. Yet we all know people respond better to positive reinforcement...

I think the media just wants to insure bad headlines.

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