Istanbul shopkeeper arrested for selling alcohol

An Istanbul shopkeeper has been arrested for selling alcohol, following a temporary ban on alcohol sales in Turkey as part of new COVID-19 restrictions, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

Lawyers are pursuing the matter, Erol Dündar, the head of the Tekel Shops Cooperation Association, a network of corner shops specialised in selling alcohol and tobacco, said.

The Turkish Interior Ministry banned alcohol sales nationwide on April 27, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a tight 17-day lockdown to curb a rise in COVID-19 infections.

“The decision on alcohol sales is not legal. Since the chain markets still continue to sell, there is no legal notice yet, they are just trying to put pressure on us,” Dündar said.

The Ankara Bar Association has challenged the ban in court, saying the move was a disproportionate interference with personal liberties.

"People's decisions on whether or not to consume alcohol in their homes are among the rights that are within the scope of private life, protected by the fundamental rights and freedoms in the constitution, and can only be limited by law,” the bar association said, adding that the practice of the administration is a violation of one of the basic criteria of public law.

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