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Minimum Legal Drinking Age In Turkey: Stay Legal and Safe!

Minimum Legal Drinking Age In Turkey: Stay Legal and Safe!

Navigating Turkey's Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Alcohol Laws

Exploring Turkey's legal drinking age and alcohol regulations is crucial for locals and travellers alike. Whether you're enjoying the bustling streets of Istanbul or exploring the cultural richness of Anatolia, understanding the nuances of Turkish drinking laws ensures a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Turkey’s legal drinking age is set at 18 years old
  • Enforcement of drinking laws varies, particularly in tourist-heavy areas
  • Understanding local laws on alcohol is crucial for responsible consumption

Let's delve into the details of Turkey's minimum legal drinking age, enforcement practices, drinking culture, and more.

Legal Drinking Age in Turkey

The legal drinking age in Turkey is set at 18 years old. This means individuals must be at least 18 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages within the country's borders. This law applies universally across Turkey and is designed to promote responsible alcohol consumption.

Implementation and Enforcement

While the legal drinking age is firmly established, enforcement of drinking laws may vary, especially in tourist-heavy areas. It's essential to note that while the law mandates adherence to the minimum age requirement, enforcement practices can sometimes be lenient. However, adhering to the legal drinking age is advisable to avoid potential legal repercussions.

Alcohol Sale and Consumption Rules

Turkey has strict regulations regarding alcohol: it's prohibited to sell it to individuals younger than 18. This rule is more than a mere suggestion; it's a regulation designed to deter underage drinking. For those who appreciate a good drink, these laws help to delineate clear limits within the drinking culture. However, there may be differences in how this regulation is applied. The approach to these regulations might be more lenient in certain tourist hotspots and metropolitan areas. The sale of alcohol is prohibited for individuals under 18, while legal consumption is permitted exclusively for those aged 18 and older.

Age Verification Procedures

Businesses must adhere to legal regulations by verifying the age of their customers, typically through standard practices such as ID checks when selling alcohol or granting entry to clubs. However, the enforcement degree can vary, with some areas being more stringent than others. Despite these laws being in place, enforcement may sometimes be lenient, especially in tourist destinations. It is advisable to err on the side of caution and adhere strictly to the regulations.

Understanding Turkish Drinking Culture

To appreciate Turkey's drinking laws truly, it's essential to understand the country's rich drinking culture. Traditional Turkish drinks such as raki, often enjoyed alongside mezes (small dishes), hold significant cultural importance. Additionally, tavern-like establishments known as meyhanes serve as communal spaces where friends and family gather to enjoy drinks, music, and conversation.

Turkish wines and beers also contribute to the country's diverse drinking culture, offering a range of options for enthusiasts. Whether sipping raki with friends or sampling local wines, alcohol plays a prominent role in Turkish social gatherings.

Traditional Turkish Beverages and Social Customs

Raki: Turkey's Beloved Spirit

  • It is a traditional Turkish spirit known for its distinctive anise flavour. It's a staple at social gatherings, often enjoyed alongside small dishes known as mezes.
  • How to Drink Raki: It's customarily mixed with water, ice, or both, making it a milky white affectionately dubbed "lion's milk."

Meyhane: The Heart of Turkish Social Life

  • What is Meyhane? Think of meyhanes as the Turkish version of taverns, cosy, welcoming spaces where people come together to enjoy raki, delicious appetisers, and, often, live music.
  • Social Significance: These establishments are much more than places to eat and drink; they're vibrant social hubs where friends and families gather to share stories, laugh, and create memories.

Turkish Wines and Beers: Beyond Raki

  • Diverse Offerings: While raki might steal the spotlight, Turkey's vineyards and breweries produce many commendable wines and beers. These beverages are integral to Turkey's rich drinking culture.
  • Enjoyment: Sharing a bottle of Turkish wine or beer with friends is a cherished way to relax and savour the moment.

The Role of Culture in Shaping Alcohol Consumption

In Turkey's coastal and urban locales, there's a laid-back perspective on alcohol; it's seamlessly integrated into social interactions, focusing on pleasure without overindulgence.

Consumption is primarily influenced by traditional values, advocating for moderation. Alcohol complements social gatherings and festive occasions, enhancing moments of unity rather than dominating them.

These attitudes and behaviours highlight alcohol's place in Turkey's cultural mosaic, enriching everything from cherished family gatherings to the lively atmosphere of Meyhane districts.

Health and Social Implications

Beyond legalities, understanding the health and social implications of alcohol consumption in Turkey is paramount. Underage drinking remains a concern, with potential health risks and developmental issues associated with early alcohol consumption. While the legal drinking age is 18, enforcement of this law may vary, underscoring the need for greater awareness and vigilance.

Alcohol and Public Health

Turkey's Ministry of Health monitors alcohol-related health outcomes and promotes awareness of responsible alcohol consumption. Strict regulations, including blood alcohol content limits for drivers, aim to mitigate the risks associated with excessive drinking. Turkey strives to safeguard public health and safety by promoting awareness and responsible drinking practices.

Legal Purchase and Consumption

Understanding the specifics of purchasing and consuming alcohol in Turkey is essential for locals and visitors. The legal drinking age of 18 pertains to the buying and destroying of alcoholic drinks. Alcohol sales are regulated by time, with establishments permitted to serve alcohol within designated hours.

Where and When Alcohol Can Be Purchased

Alcohol sales are restricted to specific hours, with shops authorised to sell alcohol between 6 am and 10 pm. However, bars, restaurants, and hotels can serve alcohol 24 hours daily. It's crucial to adhere to these regulations and purchase alcohol from licensed establishments during permitted hours.

Public Consumption Laws

While enjoying alcohol in licensed venues is permissible, public consumption in places like parks or streets is prohibited by law. Turkey maintains designated areas where alcohol can be consumed, ensuring that public spaces remain accessible to all ages.

Regulations During Special Periods

During Ramadan, alcohol regulations may undergo temporary adjustments. While alcohol consumption in public spaces may be discouraged during Ramadan, certain establishments in tourist areas may still serve alcohol. Travellers should know these nuances and plan accordingly to respect local customs.

Tourist Considerations

For travellers visiting Turkey, it's crucial to respect local laws and customs regarding alcohol consumption. While major cities like Istanbul offer vibrant nightlife scenes, drinking responsibly and being mindful of cultural sensitivities are essential. Additionally, during special periods such as Ramadan, alcohol consumption may be restricted in certain areas, particularly in more conservative regions.


In summary, the significance of responsible alcohol consumption cannot be overstated in Turkey's vibrant and diverse society. By adhering to legal regulations and demonstrating a profound appreciation for cultural nuances, travellers and residents alike can contribute to cultivating a more inclusive and harmonious social fabric that celebrates diversity and fosters mutual respect. By understanding Turkey's minimum legal drinking age and alcohol laws, travellers can ensure a safe and delightful encounter while honouring regional traditions and rules. Whether indulging in traditional Turkish drinks or exploring the vibrant nightlife, responsible alcohol consumption enhances the travel experience in this culturally rich destination. Cheers to exploring Turkey's diverse drinking culture responsibly!


What is the legal drinking age in Turkey?

In Turkey, the legal age for drinking is 18, Applying to the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

How does Turkey's legal drinking age compare to other countries?

Turkey's legal drinking age of 18 aligns with international standards, similar to many countries across Europe, North America, and Asia.

Are there restrictions on public consumption of alcohol in Turkey?

Yes, while alcohol can be consumed in licensed venues, public consumption in spaces like parks or streets is prohibited. By understanding Turkey's minimum legal drinking age and alcohol laws, travellers can ensure a safe and delightful encounter while honouring regional traditions and rules. Whether indulging in traditional Turkish drinks or exploring the vibrant nightlife, responsible alcohol consumption enhances the travel experience in this culturally rich destination. Cheers to exploring Turkey's diverse drinking culture responsibly!

What are the rules regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol in Turkey?

In Turkey, alcohol can be sold and consumed in places with a license, such as bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. However, there are restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcoholic beverages.

Are there any considerations for tourists regarding alcohol consumption in Turkey?

Tourists visiting Turkey should familiarise themselves with local alcohol laws and customs. While alcohol is widely available in tourist areas, it's important to respect local norms and avoid excessive drinking in public places.

What are some local alcohol brands that you might come across in Turkey?

Popular local alcohol brands in Turkey include Efes beer, Yeni Raki, and Tekirdağ Rakısı.