What are the restrictions regarding alcohol consumption in Turkey?

What are the restrictions regarding alcohol consumption in Turkey?

Turkey, a country known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, features a mix of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences that provide an ideal destination for travelers globally. Its unique blend of cultures and traditions draws countless visitors each year. This article aims to help those planning to visit Turkey understand one particular aspect of their society - the restrictions regarding alcohol consumption.

General Regulations on Drinking Alcohol in Turkey

In Turkey, the legal drinking age is 18. You'll find a variety of alcoholic beverages on offer, ranging from internationally recognized brands to locally made raki, wine, and beer. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption is a topic of societal debate due to Turkey's predominantly Muslim population and ongoing political changes.

The majority of Turks, particularly in urban and tourist centers, enjoy alcohol responsibly, and you'll find plenty of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants where alcohol is served. However, the situation may vary in more conservative and rural areas. When visiting such areas, it is essential to respect local customs and sensibilities.

Alcohol Sales and Advertising Restrictions

Timing of Alcohol Sales

In 2013, the Turkish government passed a law restricting the sale of alcohol between 10 pm and 6 am. This means that most supermarkets, mini markets or 'bakkals', and online platforms cease selling alcohol during this period. However, the rule doesn't apply to bars, restaurants, and some hotels, which can sell alcohol anytime if it's served on the premises.

Alcohol Advertising and Promotions

Under the same law, alcohol advertising and promotions were banned. This includes visual media, social media, events, and sponsorship. Almost every visual representation of alcohol has disappeared. Even restaurant menus have had to adapt by removing images of alcoholic drinks.

Consumption in Public and at Events

Open public drinking is legal in Turkey (except for designated areas), although it isn’t encouraged and can often draw unwanted attention. This is particularly relevant in regards to religious events, such as the holy month of Ramadan, when it's seen as very disrespectful to openly drink alcohol.

When planning to attend any festivals or special events in Turkey, it's best to research beforehand whether alcohol is permitted. Some events cater to different cultural norms, and as a visitor, it's important to respect these norms.

Driving After Drinking

Turkey has strict rules concerning alcohol and driving. The legal blood alcohol level is 0.05% for private vehicles and 0.0% for commercial vehicles. For your safety and to avoid hefty penalties, it's recommended not to drink and drive.

Alcohol in Turkish Culture

While alcohol consumption is legal and common, especially among Turkish urbanites and non-religious communities, it's a subject that divides opinions and attitudes. The Turkish national drink, Raki, is often enjoyed with meals and during social events, but in more conservative areas and among the more religious populace, alcohol is avoided.

Visitors should respect these variations in attitudes, practice discretion in less cosmopolitan areas, and engage in responsible drinking.


Final notes for those travelling to Turkey is that, while enjoying your holiday, it's essential to respect the country's traditions and customs regarding alcohol consumption. Doing a bit of research and being aware of local customs can enhance your travel experience and help you better understand the country's fascinating culture. As with all things, moderation and respect for local customs is the key to a pleasurable stay in Turkey.

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