Minimum Legal Drinking Age In Turkey: Turkish Alcohol & Drinking Laws

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

When we talk about enjoying local beverages in different countries, it’s essential to know the legal stipulations. This guide explains the Turkish drinking laws, limits, and what to drink in Turkey. 

Turkey Travel Blog_Legal Drinking Age and Laws In Turkey

  • 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

What Age Can You Drink Alcohol In Turkey

Before diving into the specifics, we must understand that in Turkey, the legal drinking age is set at 18. This rule applies universally across the country, enforcing minimum age limits for the purchase and consumption of alcohol.

Current Legal Framework To Drink In Turkey

In Turkey, if you’re 18 or older, you’re legally in the clear to enjoy a glass of raki, a pint of beer, or a delightful drop of Turkish wine. Our legal framework has been designed to ensure that adults can responsibly indulge in alcoholic beverages. It’s pretty straightforward—no one under the age of 18 is legally allowed to buy or consume alcohol within our borders:

  • Age to purchase: 18+
  • Age to consume: 18+
  • Enforcement: known to vary by region

While these laws are on the books, do keep in mind that, particularly in tourist areas, enforcement can sometimes be a bit lax. That said, it’s always better to play it safe and stick to the rules.

History of Drinking Age Laws

Now, let’s take a quick stroll through history. Since the founding of the Turkish Republic, we’ve had a relatively liberal approach towards alcohol consumption, with the minimum legal age set at 18 years of age. Sure, there was a brief hiccup during the Independence War where alcohol got the cold shoulder, but that’s water under the bridge.

Fast forward to today, and not much has changed in terms of age limits. The legal drinking age is 18, geared towards fostering a mature environment for alcohol consumption. This places us pretty much in line with international standards and fosters an atmosphere where adults can make their own choices, within legal boundaries, of course.

Implementation And Enforcement

A glass of Turkisj raki on a table with meze - drinking age in Turkey.

In Turkey, we notice a contrast between what the law dictates and what happens on the ground when it comes to alcohol. The legal age is firmly set at 18, but let’s delve into how this pans out in practice.

Sale And Consumption Regulations

When it comes to the sale of alcohol, Turkish law is clear: no sales to anyone under 18. This isn’t just a guideline; it’s a well-defined rule aimed at keeping the young’uns from indulging too early. For those of us who enjoy a cold brew or a fine spirit, these regulations ensure that drinking culture maintains some boundaries. But here’s the kicker: though the rule is there, it’s not always seen in action. In some tourist spots and urban areas, the scene can be a bit more relaxed.

  • Sale of Alcohol: no selling to individuals under 18
  • Consumption: only those 18 and above may legally consume alcoholic beverages

Age Verification Processes

So, how do establishments ensure they’re on the right side of the law? Age checks. Or at least, that’s the expectation. In theory, anyone buying a drink or hitting a nightclub should be ready to flash an ID. We’ve got:

  • ID Checks: proof of age is required when purchasing alcohol or entering clubs
  • Enforcement: inconsistently applied; stricter in some areas, lax in others

Though it’s supposed to be strictly enforced, we often see that, in reality, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some places are diligent with checks, while others might give you a nod and a smile. It all adds up to a reasonably laid-back vibe, as long as no one’s blatantly breaking the rules.

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Drinking Culture & Alcohol Products

Traditional Turkish Drink Raki, Salgam (Turnip Juice) with Adana Kebab

In Turkey, the intersection of traditions and evolving lifestyles paints a vivid picture of the nation’s approach to alcohol. Let’s dive into how deep-rooted customs and modern practices influence drinking.

Traditional Turkish Drinks And Practices


Often anise-flavored, raki serves as Turkey’s signature spirit, sharing a table with mezes (small dishes) and engaging conversations. It’s traditionally consumed with water or ice, sometimes both, triggering a milky transformation referred to as “lions’ milk.”

Meyhane Culture

 These tavern-like establishments are more than just venues; they represent a gathering place where friends and family bond over raki, music, and an array of appetizers.

Turkish Wines and Beers

Though raki takes center stage, our vineyards and breweries craft noteworthy wines and beers, contributing to a diversified drinking culture. Drinking these in the company of friends is an established way to unwind.

Impact of Culture On Alcohol Consumption

In coastal and urban areas, you’ll find a relaxed attitude towards drinking. It’s part of our social fabric, with an emphasis on enjoyment rather than excess.

Traditional views often guide consumption habits, with a moderate approach prevailing. It’s woven into our social events and celebrations, marking moments of togetherness rather than the central focus.

Together, these practices and perceptions underscore the role alcohol plays within the rich tapestry of Turkish society, from coveted family feasts to the bustling meyhane alleys.

Tourist Considerations

A person holding a glass of wine in front of a house in Istria.

When traveling to Turkey, it’s crucial for us to be aware of local laws regarding alcohol consumption and to appreciate the cultural context we’re stepping into. This is especially true in cities like Istanbul, where the vibrant nightlife must be balanced with responsible behavior.

Drinking Safely As A Visitor

In Turkey, legally purchasing and consuming alcohol requires us to be at least 18 years old. It’s a safe destination overall, but like anywhere, drinking responsibly is vital—particularly in Istanbul with its bustling scene.

To drink safely:

  • Stay in control and know your limits
  • Ensure you’re in good company when you opt to drink alcohol in public, but also ensure you are in a safe environment
  • Stay hydrated and keep track of your belongings

Respecting Local Laws And Customs

Turkey’s cultural fabric is unique and should be respected. While alcohol is available, public intoxication is frowned upon, and there are firm regulations in place. Considering local customs, we should:

  • Be discreet; avoid overly boisterous behavior.
  • Understand that fewer Turkish women drink compared to men, and it’s important to respect personal choices.
  • Note that during Ramadan and religious holidays, some establishments may not serve alcohol.

Health And Social Implications

Did Turkey Change Its Name To Turkiye

When we talk about the drinking age in Turkey, it’s essential to consider more than just the legalities. The health and social implications are pretty significant, especially when it comes to underage drinking and public health concerns.

Underage Drinking Concerns

Underage drinking is an issue that universally worries parents, authorities, and health professionals. In Turkey, the legal drinking age is set at 18, but the enforcement of this law can be hit or miss. With the Ministry of Health keeping a close eye on the situation, the concerns stem not just from law-breaking but from the potential health risks associated with early alcohol consumption. From developmental problems to an increased risk of addiction, the ripple effects of underage drinking can be severe.

  • Health Risks: early alcohol consumption may lead to developmental issues and increase the likelihood of addiction
  • Enforcement: while the law states that 18 is the minimum age for alcohol consumption, actual enforcement varies

Alcohol And Public Health

When it comes to alcohol consumption by those of legal age, public health remains a crucial concern. The Ministry of Health monitors alcohol-related health outcomes and actively promotes awareness of the responsible use of alcohol. Blood alcohol content (BAC) regulations are strict, particularly for drivers, with a standard legal limit of 0.05 mg/ml and a zero-tolerance policy for commercial drivers.

  • Safe Limits: BAC limits are in place to curb drunk driving and related accidents.
  • Public Awareness: efforts to increase awareness about responsible alcohol consumption, including the legal drinking age of 18, are ongoing in Turkey.

By staying informed on these topics, we can better understand the broader implications of alcohol use in Turkey and work towards more responsible practices.

Legal Purchase And Consumption

When we’re talking Turkey and tipples, the magic number is 18. That’s the minimum age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages legally. But it’s not just about age—there are specific times and places where buying a bottle or enjoying a drink is permissible, and we’re about to dive into that.

Where And When Alcohol Can Be Purchased

Alcohol sales in Turkey are regulated by time. Alcoholic products can only be purchased from shops between 6 am and 10 pm. However, bars, restaurants, and hotels can serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

Outside these times, you’ll find the shutters down and the registers closed. Supermarkets, corner shops, and other retail venues adhere to the rules of selling alcohol, so plan accordingly.

Public Consumption Laws

When it comes to enjoying your beverage in public places, the rules are pretty clear. We’re free to consume alcohol in licensed venues like bars, restaurants, and venues with the appropriate permits. But don’t crack open a cold one in public spaces like parks or streets—it’s not the done thing, and you’ll be breaking the law. Turkey ensures that spaces accessible to all ages remain alcohol-free so that everyone can enjoy them without the presence of alcohol.

  • Allowed: licensed bars, restaurants
  • Not Allowed: parks, streets, other public spaces

Remember, rules are there to keep things enjoyable for everyone. We can drink in places designed for it and buy booze within the sensible hours set by the law. It’s really all about respecting the local norms and enjoying responsibly. Cheers to that!

Regulations During Special Periods

Ramadan Festival Istanbul_Turkey

In Turkey, there are specific times when regulations around selling alcohol and public consumption become particularly relevant. We’re going to look at how these regulations change during the holy month of Ramadan and other notable periods.

Alcohol Sale Restrictions During Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, alcohol consumption in public is generally discouraged, and many establishments in conservative areas may limit or suspend alcohol sales. However, in tourist areas and larger cities, some bars and restaurants will still serve alcohol.

During Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, a ban on alcohol sales can sometimes be in effect in some places. For we travelers, this means that in some places, particularly smaller towns or more conservative areas, finding an evening drink can be a bit more complicated. It’s not a nationwide shutdown by any means, but it’s respectful to be aware of these nuances. It’s a good idea for us to plan ahead if our travel coincides with Ramadan.


Other Time Or Event-Based Restrictions

Outside of Ramadan, Turkey doesn’t usually enforce any blanket bans on alcohol sales. However, there can be temporary restrictions during special events or national holidays; the rules about selling alcohol can sometimes be in effect. This could mean certain public areas might go dry for a time, or sales hours might be adjusted.

When events are on the horizon, we might notice signs or announcements indicating what, if any, shifts in alcohol policy are coming. Keep an eye out, as these aren’t always crystal clear, but staying informed helps us steer clear of any hiccups in our plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

When planning a trip to Turkey, it’s pretty helpful to know the dos and don’ts regarding alcohol consumption. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the most common inquiries tourists have about the legalities and local customs surrounding alcohol.


At what age can you legally purchase and consume alcohol in Turkey?

In Turkey, we’re legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol at the age of 18. This includes beer, wine, and spirits.

How does Turkey compare to other countries in terms of legal drinking age?

Turkey’s legal drinking age, being 18, is on par with many countries around the globe. For example, like much of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, we maintain 18 as the minimum age for alcohol consumption.

What’s the stance on public consumption of alcohol in major cities like Istanbul?

Major cities such as Istanbul have designated areas where we can enjoy alcoholic beverages. However, it is not permissible to consume alcohol openly in public spaces.

Is the legal drinking age in Turkey enforced strictly by local authorities?

Local authorities in Turkey do enforce the legal drinking age strictly, particularly in preventing underage sales and consumption of alcohol.

What are the prices like for alcoholic beverages in Turkey?

Prices for alcoholic beverages can vary in Turkey, much like anywhere else. Factors include the type of beverage, brand, and venue. Beers tend to be more affordable, while imported spirits might be pricier.

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

We might come across local brands such as Efes beer, Yeni Raki, and Tekirdağ Rakısı. These brands offer a taste of Turkey’s favorite traditional drinks.

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