No More Toasts to Afyonkarahisar

An inexplicably broad ban on alcohol has gone into effect in Afyonkarahisar. As always, these municipal alcohol restrictions are said to be for public health and safety purposes, not for reasons of conservative social engineering or for religious reasons. Yet this ban seems so all-encompassing that this rationale is patently not believable. No alcohol may be consumed inside commercial buildings? Well, so much for business events. (It is still allowed inside licensed cafes, bars, and restaurants. Caterers will be out of luck.) What is odd is that alcohol consumption in the town was already banned on streets and in parks. This new sweeping ban ostensibly was in response to the safety challenge posed by people who drink inside their cars in parks. So the response is to ban drinking in a vast variety of public and private and commercial spaces.

The country desperately needs a constitution based on individual rights that would make it impossible for municipalities to get away with banning activities in people’s private lives and spaces, undermine their rights to do business and use their property as they see fit. The state should be required to prove harm (not just a generic ‘it’s bad for people’s health’) in order to impose restrictions.

..The governor’s office in the inner Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar has banned the open sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, for the stated purposes of preventing crime, alcohol-related traffic accidents and conserving public order.

The open sale and consumption of alcohol in parks, gardens, open spaces, highways, picnic areas, historical ruins and the interior of all vehicles will be prohibited in accordance with the new directive issued by Afyonkarahisar Gov. İrfan Balkanlıoğlu, daily Hürriyet reported. The directive also bans the consumption – but not sale – of alcohol in train stations, bus terminals, squares, avenues, streets, historical and cultural venues, places of worship, abandoned structures, construction zones, cemeteries, ATMs, promenades, stairwells, underneath bridges and inside commercial buildings… (click here)

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