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Turks fear piety lies behind lockdown booze ban

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Turkey's government will ban alcohol sales during a 17-day lockdown starting on Thursday (April 29).

That's angered some secular Turks, who see it as an attempt to impose a religious lifestyle by President Tayyip Erdogan.

The government says the ban has nothing to do with Islam, and instead aims to avoid giving supermarkets, which will stay open for food shopping, an unfair advantage over small shops, which will have to close.

Istanbul resident Adem Gulen is sceptical:

"I will stock up. There is no benefit in this for me. I don't think this is logical. I don't think this has to do with coronavirus. I believe the government thought 'let's ban it from now so that people slowly get used to it'. I guess they'll ban alcohol altogether in the future."

Turks have taken to social media to air their frustration, and liquor stores for supplies. Supermarkets' beer and wine shelves have been stripped bare.

Business has been great, this shop-owner says, but the ban's not right.

The majority of Turks are observant Muslims. Erdogan, who has ruled for 18 years, often says he wants to raise a "pious generation."

Secular Turks tend to oppose Erdogan's AK Party, and complain that his increasingly religious agenda is encroaching on their lives.

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