Law No. 4250, on the Monopoly of Alcohol and Alcoholic Beverages ("Law"), has been amended by Law No. 6487 Amending Certain Laws and Decree Law No. 375 ("Amending Law"). The amendments and their effects shall be the subject of this article.
The Amending Law modifies the 6th, 7th and 9th Articles of the Law, while Articles 19 and 28 have been abrogated and a temporary article has been added to the Law. Within this framework, Article 6 stipulates general regulations/limitations on the sale and promotion of alcoholic beverages. Administrative fees arising from non-compliance with Article 6 are set forth in Article 7 and Article 28 of the Law has been abrogated accordingly. Article 9 covers the license for selling alcoholic beverages and the temporary article stipulates certain regulations on the enterprises where alcoholic beverages are sold or served. Article 19 has been abrogated accordingly.
Regulations on the Promotion of Alcoholic Beverages
Pursuant to Article 6 of the Law, advertising activities and promotions aimed at consumers shall under no circumstances be conducted. Therefore, advertisements in visual or print media vehicles or on the radio are prohibited.
It should be noted that Article 24 of the Regulation Pertaining to the Procedures and Principles on the Sale and Service of the Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages, published in the Official Gazette dated 07.01.2011 and numbered 27808 prohibits advertisements of alcoholic beverages on television, cable TV and the radio. However, with the Amending Law, the limitation now includes advertisements in printed press and internet.
Another regulation set forth by Article 6 is with regard to the promotions and events which stimulate and support the use and sale of the alcoholic beverages. Pursuant to the amendments, such events and promotions cannot be undertaken, with the exception of specific international fairs, scientific publications and activities. Within this framework, it is worth mentioning that wine tasting and grape harvesting events may not be held any more for consumers.
Moreover, subsequent to the amendments, producers, sellers and importers of alcoholic beverages cannot provide sponsorship to events by "using their trademarks, logos or signs". However, it is possible to use trademarks, emblems and logos on the service materials of enterprises serving alcoholic beverages. However, the scope of "service materials" remains vague.
In addition to the foregoing, pursuant to the 2nd paragraph of Article 6, alcoholic beverages cannot be distributed gratuitously, for promotion or incentive nor as samples.
Regulations on the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold and cannot be served to people under the age of 18, as per the 3rd paragraph of Article 6. Furthermore, alcoholic beverages cannot be sold by vending machines and via press, and cannot be sent by post.
In addition to the above regulations, the sales of enterprises engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic beverages are limited with time periods. Accordingly, alcoholic beverages cannot be sold to customers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Another regulation relates to the consumption of alcoholic beverages outside of enterprises serving alcoholic beverages. Pursuant to the amendments, customers may not consume alcoholic beverages outside of these establishments. The sale of alcohol for outdoor consummation is no longer possible.
Shops selling alcoholic beverages shall be required to make certain changes in their stores. For instance, pursuant to paragraph 7 of Article 6, alcoholic beverages should not be seen from the outside of these stores.
Within the framework of the sale of alcoholic beverages, as per the last paragraph of Article 6, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will not be allowed in facilities situated on highways and state roads, student residences, health-care places, stadiums and gymnasiums, any kind of educational institution, cafes, traditional coffee houses, bakeries, pinochle and bridge rooms, fuel stations, shops and restaurants.
As per the amendments to the Article 9 of the Law, with the exception of certified tourism enterprises, enterprises selling alcoholic beverages are required to be situated at least a hundred meters away from educational institutions, student dormitories and places of worship. This condition shall not be applied to the shops which already acquired their operation and sale license before the publication of this article. Moreover, this condition shall not be required for transfers to be made to first and second degree blood relatives.
Regulations on the Packaging of Alcoholic Beverages
As per the amendments to the Law, alcoholic beverages should contain warning signs on their packages as do tobacco products in Turkey. These signs should mention the harmful effects of the alcoholic beverages and may take the form of pictures or graphics. Any alcoholic beverage without these signs cannot be sold. The only exception to this rule is products for exportation.
In addition to the above-mentioned regulation, the amendments also state that any distinctive signs for alcoholic beverages cannot be used on non-alcoholic beverages and vice versa. The products for exportation are again excepted from this rule.
The amendments to the Law bring important limitations to the sale and promotion of alcoholic beverages. Where there is a violation of Article 6, the application of an administrative fee between TRY 5.000 and TRY 500.000 is possible pursuant to Article 7 of the Law. However, certain expressions of the Law are unclear. Despite the fact that secondary legislation is only envisaged for the 8th, 9th and 10th paragraphs of Article 6 pursuant to the temporary article 1, secondary legislation for the clear application of the Law should also be provided for the rest of the amendments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.