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'Moderate Political Islam' Leading Turkey to 'Moderate Sharia'

The alcohol ban admitted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be religiously motivated is a negative response to the question, "Is moderate political Islam compatible with democracy?”
Bartender Samet Kardas smokes as he serves beer at a bar in Istanbul July 14, 2009. Smokers in Turkey tempted to flout an imminent ban in cafes, restaurants and bars will be spared execution as allegedly meted out in 17th-Century Istanbul -- but their Prime Minister has likened cigarettes to terrorism. That's a measure of how strongly Tayyip Erdogan feels about tobacco. Sultan Murad IV is said to have roamed the streets ordering the execution of those who defied a smoking ban aimed at curbing coffee house s
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Just before the parliament voted on May 24 for the bill that would introduce serious restrictions on the sale, marketing and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Turkey, neo-Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) members added a clause that would also ban the retail sale of alcoholic drinks from shops between 10 p.m. and 6 in the morning.

If the bill is signed by President Abdullah Gul and becomes  law, which is likely in the absence of any indication to the contrary, alcoholic drinks would be able to be sold only in Turkish bars and restaurants after 10 p.m. My first Al-Monitor article, May 23, on the subject was titled “AKP's Jihad Against Alcohol: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.”

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