Booze and Beats Don't Mix in Turkey

Bottles cut from music video; critics cite moves toward religious law
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 28, 2008 6:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Singer Aslizen Yentur thought it was a joke when Turkey's top music channel axed shots of a wine bottle-laden table from her video. It wasn't, and now Turkey's broadcasting watchdog is drafting a bill to make scenes that encourage drinking illegal—supposedly to align with EU norms, the Independent reports. But critics charge the government is really trying to steer Turkey toward religious populism.

Wine taxes have quadrupled since the Islamic-rooted AKP—which unsuccessfully tried to confine bars to "red streets"—took over in 2002. The author of a book on Turkish Islam says he fears this "is the beginning of a major change against secular lifestyles." Nearly half the complaints to watchdog RTUK last year were from viewers upset by alcohol's excessive visibility on TV.