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Are books and movies promoting smoking and drinking? Erdogan thinks so

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s railing against smoking and alcohol has sparked concerns over censorship of movies and literary works deemed to promote the two "evils."
A woman smokes in a bar as she drinks the Turkish traditional beverage Raki in Ankara February 12, 2008. Turkey is the eighth biggest cigarette market in the world, with nearly 60 percent of male adults estimated to smoke. Six global cigarette producers and state-run Tekel compete for the lucrative market. Picture taken February 12, 2008. To match feature TURKEY-CIGARETTES/     REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY) - RTR1X0MR

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan created a new controversy on Feb. 9, Turkey's Quit Smoking Day, when he appeared to link addiction to alcohol and tobacco to poetry, literature and cinema. In a country where censorship is already rife, his remark sparked concern that fresh restrictions might be in store.

On Feb. 9, left-leaning Cumhuriyet, a vocal critic of the government, published a story headlined “Erdogan: Poems, novels and cinema cause addictions just like smoking.” A number of other news sites, including the popular T24, picked up the story, leading many to wonder where Turkey is going and whether poetry, fiction and cinema are under threat.

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