Alcohol ban decision taken by municipal council on June 8 took effect in TEKEL (Turkish tobacco and alcoholic beverages company) shops in Pendik, İstanbul. The decision that determines opening and closing hours of TEKEL shops as 7 am and 10 pm left local craftsmen in a difficult situation. TEKEL shops which are not supposed to sell alcohol after 10 pm, cannot also sell products such as water, cigarette or ice cream now. Citizens could not buy their needs because the shops were closed after 10 pm. Therefore, the craftsmen applied to the court for a judgement of nullity. İstanbul district administrative court, sixth judicial chamber stopped the execution of the decision in September, stating that the municipal councils do not have the authorization to close workplaces, only municipal committees can do that.
MUNICIPAL COMMITTEE DECISION WAS TAKEN
When the issue came to court, the required authorization was taken from Pendik municipal committee. This time, the working hours of all businesses were determined as 7am-10pm. The businesses which want to continue working after 10 pm were required to apply for a "work authorization at night". All restaurants in the Pendik district were closed after 10 pm in the past weeks. Now the restaurants are applying to the municipality for this new authorization although they already had licenses to work after 10 pm.
THE CRAFTSMEN ARE WORRIED
Tarık Balyalı, a member of municipal council from Republican People’s Party (CHP) stated that the craftsmen are waiting for the decision from municipality anxiously and added "Pendik municipality hasn’t given new alcohol licenses to the businesses for long years. Now, the licenses of all places serving alcohol are going to be scrutinised. What is going to happen to these businesses operating in Pendik for 30 years, is not clear. With this new arrangement, Pendik municipality essentially brought a special and extended alcohol ban in the district".
IMPOSITION A LIFESTYLE
Balyalı describes this decision as "imposition of a lifestyle". Not only business owners but also citizens suffer from the decision to close all businesses after 10 pm. He said, there are 272 Tekel shops in the district. They don’t only sell alcohol. The shops on the beach earn money by selling ice cream and water in summer months. They are in a downswing after this decision. Closing the restaurants serving alcohol after 10 pm means going out of business. Around 10 pm is the busiest time in these restaurants. These restaurants have 20-30 years of business history in the district. They already have alcohol licenses".