2020 Turkey Unrecorded Alcohol Consumption Data

Alcohol consumption is a subject that concerns a lot of legislators throughout the world. The reason behind this situation is the conflict between the possible negative effects of alcohol consumption on both individual and public health; and the concerns about the government interfering with basic practices of liberty. It is much easier to understand this conflict if we take the high amounts of consumption rates of European countries into consideration [1]. In Turkey, however, where the alcohol consumption rate per capita is significantly lower than those of European countries, the situation gets a little bit tricky. We are therefore publishing the data of 2021 Turkey Unrecorded Alcohol Consumption as Turkish Public Alcohol Policy Watch, in order to have a better understanding of how is Turkey handling it. [2]

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), yearly alcohol consumption per capita in Turkey is 1.4 liters [3].  Among the G20 States, the same statistic is 12.33 liters for France, 12.33 liters for Germany, 12.91 liters for Russia, and 9.87 liters per capita for the US [4]. It is clear that the data of yearly alcohol consumption per capita must have a direct role while the legislation process of public policies related to alcohol consumption. However, this assumption does not fit in the context of Turkey’s public policy agenda. It must also be said that 74.4% of Turkish citizens have never drunk any alcohol in their lives, according to Turkish Institute of Statistics 2019 data [5]!

Taxation is clearly one of the most important aspects of public policies of alcohol consumption. The amount of Special Consumption Tax (SCT) collected by alcoholic beverages in Turkey, raises every 6 months, in accordance with title 12 of the SCT Act [6]. Beer, which has the highest consumption rate of 63.3% of all alcoholic beverages in Turkey, is the most affected one in this process [7]. The tax collected from alcoholic beverages is now claiming its own record after the latest news since the tax rate of Turkish raki worth 175 liras is 287%, which is uncommonly high [8].

The situation is also concerning in the aspect of the absolute outcome of the high taxes, the black market. Unfortunately, Turkish citizens are gradually leaning towards bootleg, because of the enormously high market prices of legal booze.  In 2020, there have been 2,430 police operations throughout the country against bootleg. 1,020,819 liters of bootleg have been seized and 3,547 suspects have been subjected to criminal proceedings [9]. Meanwhile, 92 citizens have lost their lives because of bootleg-related deaths.


[1] “European Report on Alcohol Policy: A Review”. EuroCare. 2016., https://www.eurocare.org/media/GENERAL/docs/reports/2016europeanreportonalcoholpolicy.pdf, (date of access February 17th, 2020)

[2]: Since there is no organization that publishes this data systematically, it has been curated by our staff in related studies in this field.

[3]: “Pure alcohol consumption, litres per capita, age 15+”. World Health Organization, https://gateway.euro.who.int/en/indicators/hfa_426-3050-pure-alcohol-consumption-litres-per-capita-age-15plus/visualizations/#id=19443 (date of Acces March 16th, 2020)

[4]: The World Bank, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.ALC.PCAP.LI?end=2018&locations=TR&start=2000&view=chart, (date of access March 16th, 2020)

[5]: Turkish Institution of Statistics

[6]: Vergiye Dair  https://vergiyedair.com/2021/01/04/son-otv-zammi-sonrasi-alkollu-iceceklerde-vergi-yuku/, (date of access March 10th, 2020).

[7]: ‘Alcohol Comsuption 2010’ WHO Health Observatory, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Alcohol Consumption”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/alcohol-consumption’ [Online Resource], (date of access March the 1st, 2020).

[8]: Indepentend Turkce https://www.indyturk.com/node/319711/ekonomi%CC%87/alkol-t%C3%BCketimi-20-milyon-ton-azald%C4%B1-ama-alkoldeki-%C3%B6tv-geliri-y%C3%BCzde-12-artt%C4%B1#, (date of access March 15th, 2020).

[9]: Turkish Ministery of Interior’s reports on smuggling https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/alkollu-icki-kacakciligi-operasyonu, (date of access February 19th, 2020).

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