Turkish Protesters Raising a Toast


turkish-protestsTurkish protesters cracked bottles of Efes beer raising them in a toast to their prime minister against a law, cribbing drinking rights. The young protesters clustered against the suddenly issued law and indulged themselves in drinking spree. Many young women were seen drinking right from the bottle to unfurl the flag of freedom. Even in Isparta, a religiously conservative place, people gathered with bottles in hands and shared the joy of drinking. They gathered outside the office of local governor, who is supporting battling prime minister and chanted, “Cheers Tayyip”.

Protest has become keyword of living in Turkey. After vicious street battles and firing tear gases, the protesters finally retook Taksim Square in Istanbul. The individuals never cease to protest against the government and now the country witnessed a very novel mean of protest, too bold to imagine!! Drinking is far from the only issue held up and people are vying constantly against the government. This protest may be merely another protest, but it must have the significance. The young Turks, the main protesters now want globalization and freedom. Though the protesters want to fix new line of drinking, Erdogan, the prime minister has daunted any possibility saying, “Religious demands” compel him to curbing drinking. No wonder that the protesters were seen raising ‘mock’ toast to him. The government accused the cheering people of taking beer into mosques. Turkish people are keen to drink new aroma of life, of course.

There were obvious signs to push the limits of alcohol. A local court calmly issued a local law that restricted the sale and consumption of alcohol. A court is another small community outside Ankara, Turkey’s capital, issued a similar ruling. On seeing the strength of liquor protest, President Abdullah Gul raised a possibility to think of public opinion before signing into the national legislation. So, crowd may get many reasons for raising a toast.

Does that mean government desires to calm down the protest temporarily? Only future knows the answers but protesters must be happy if their speech realized into action.

Some traditionalists are saying, ‘This is nothing but a clash of Islamic and secular values ‘; but they really can’t bear with the fact that protesters took beer into the mosques. They do believe in religious demands. Turks were fond of soft, sweet beverages rather than Raki, a strong anise flavored liquids. Now the ear is changed, so is their demands. But protest against the drinking rules is really a checkered issue to talk about in clash ravaged Turkey.

According to the Mayor, “It isn’t about religion; for us it is more about drunk people, the disagreements, the violence against women”. But he added, “Of course, in Islam it is haram to drink alcohol”.

Isparta, where the drinking protest amassed many, is a college town. The residents do drink there; but side by side it is still a conservative place. So some are still against the protest, where some are happy raising mock toast against the government. So, this drinking protest may turn the mode of protest in new way, truly.

According to bar manager Turan, “We are going back to the time of Murad IV when alcohol was banned. The AKP is taking us back”. So, the tagline of drinking protest gets loud. Young Turks are ready to raise a toast against the government.

Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul

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