There has been a new release of law in August 2023 by Istanbul Governorship that confused many people, including Turkish citizens. Everyone has this question in mind; Is alcohol forbidden in Turkey? Are you allowed to drink alcohol in Turkey?

In short answer, yes. As of 2023 September, you are allowed to buy and drink alcohol in Turkey. However, there is a catch. 

The new law limits some age groups, where you buy alcohol, when you buy it; as well as where and when to drink it.

Turkey’s Perception of Alcohol Consumption

Turkey, alcohol, islam. Feels weird to write it in the same sentence. Turkey is an islamic country. There is no debate that. The real question is, how islamic it is?

By being right in the center of Asia and Europe continents, Turkey is a Country with mixed cultures; as well as a mixed perception of alcohol consumption. As you go west of Turkey such as Istanbul, Canakkale, Tekirdag, Antalya or Izmir; alcohol consumption become more and more popular. However, in the East side, there are cities where Arabic culture is dominant. Both municipalities, government and the people are more conservative there. 

Let’s repeat the question. Can you drink beer on street Turkey?

Yes. You can be roaming around with a beer in Taksim or in Kadikoy, while they’d probably arrest you for public alcohol use in Konya, Turkey. Don’t get me wrong, alcohol use in public areas is banned in each and every cities of Turkey. However, the law does not apply in a lot of locations. 

The new law regarding alcohol use in Istanbul

The new 08/17/2023 release was highly related with the law number 4250. This law was about sales, distribution and consumption of alcohol. The new law actually was not a surprise for Turkish citizens, as it did not have anything new. 


The problem is that alcohol consumption in public places was already prohibited by law; only it did not apply in anywhere. In other words, it was only prohibited on paper. The real question is, would the government start applying the law?

After the initial release of the law, both Turkish people and tourists have started to panic as the message of the new law was unclear. Can you drink alcohol in Turkey?

Did alcohol use in public officially banned in Turkey? 

Istanbul governorship had to release an explanation to answer these questions, and to explain their message for the new 08/17/2023 law. Here are summary details of Istanbul governorship’s explanation;

Alcohol sales to minors is prohibited

Drinking age in Turkey is 18. Liquor shops are highly strict with this policy. If you are a minor, or a young adult who looks young, you may have trouble purchasing. 

With no Id and driver’s license, consider twice before leaving your passport at the hotel’s safe.

Alcohol sales is prohibited between 10PM and 6AM

Unless the licensed restaurants and bars, sales of alcohol (from small liquor shops; i.e. “tekel”) is prohibited between 10PM and 6AM. I will be honest. I have never seen a shop not selling alcohol after 10PM. However, they get all suspicious and weird about it; as there is a black van in the corner of an Italian street. 

Some shops even use this to their advantage. They increase the price after 10 PM, stating the fact that they are taking a risk by selling you alcohol.

Alcohol sales by unlicensed people is banned

As mentioned, you cannot buy alcohol after 10 PM. Some people know this, and take advantage of the gap in the market. They buy bunch of liquor before 10 PM, put it in ice, and then sell it in parks and beaches. They are usually friendly people, but alcohol poisoning is a serious matter, and it is vitally important to make a purchase from a licensed liquor shop.

Just as a quick reminder, many people die by alcohol poisoning in Turkey each and every year. So, if you don’t want to walk around to find a tekel in the middle of the nigh with your drunk ass and Google Translate on your hand, you better buy that extra round.

Getting drunk is the true crime

Acting all drunk; and especially causing disturbance to others is one of the most important things that the new law tries to cover. You can purchase alcohol, and even drink it in public; but you need to be able to control yourself to avoid problems.

Where to find good clubs & bars in Turkey?

In, we have a special page for you to find good night life locations. There, you can sort and filter clubs and bars to Find the best clubs in Turkey. Some of the filters you can apply are;

  • their location
  • pricing
  • reservation requirement
  • parking space availability
  • supported currencies

and more…

As, all we want for you is to spend good time and collect excellent memories in Turkey. Do not forget to share your Turkey memories in the comments below. Until next time, peace!


Istanbul Bar Association filed a lawsuit to annul the Governorship’s ban for drinking in public spaces. 2023. BBC News Turkish.


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