The members of the Turkish Alcohol Policy Platform come together

The members of the Turkish Alcohol Policy Platform (TAPP), established with the participation of 27 organizations including the Turkish Green Crescent Society on March 8, 2013, have held a meeting. During the meeting, the working principles and procedures for the TAPP have been identified. The Turkish Green Crescent Society will provide the TAPP with secretarial and promotional services, and the TAPP will hold a General Assembly meeting to draft its charter within 6 months.

Having been established on March 8, 2013 with the purpose of ensuring the supervision of alcohol consumption in compliance with contemporary norms, the TAPP held its first working meeting. During the meeting hosted by the Turkish Green Crescent Society at Sepetçiler Kasrı, representatives of the TAPP’s member organizations have underscored the need for the TAPP’s work and stressed that they will cooperate for the development of alcohol policies.

Turkish Green Crescent Society Chairman Prof. İhsan Karaman delivered a speech, noting that that while similar formations have existed in many countries around the world, the initiative is a novel concept for Turkey. Prof. Karaman indicated: “There is no alcohol policy in Turkey and what’s worse, false information has been occasionally imposed on the society by the state and certain commercial entities. Looking at the work conducted by the international institutions working on alcohol, we can say that promotions, ads, propaganda, incentive broadcasts and publications are diametrically opposite to the policies developed by public health institutions. Worst still, the state has introduced monopoly on alcohol and earned revenues from it. But the damage done to the public health can hardly be compensated with any financial gain. The global organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have certain resolutions and recommendations. We witness that certain countries particularly including European countries have recently started to implement the WHO’s recommendations. The Turkish Green Crescent Society believes that the work to be conducted in this area must include as many stakeholders as possible and we have set out to establish this platform.

What have the Turkish Green Crescent Society done in this period? It organized a symposium on the global alcohol policies to draw attention to this issue. The matter was discussed in scientific terms as well as from the public health and civil society perspectives. Then, a bill regarding alcohol came to the agenda and it was adopted. While it believed this move was unsatisfactory, the Turkish Green Crescent Society still lent support to it. The legal provisions that entered into force on September 9 are right, but they are behind the practices that are in effect in many countries. So we say ‘Not enough, but yes.’ What more can be done? We need to work to raise awareness of the public regarding the implementation of the bill and eliminate misunderstanding.”

In the meeting, the TAPP’s operating procedures as well as the draft charter were discussed and the temporary Executive Board was elected to office.

The TAPP has member organizations which include not only health organizations such as the Public Health Specialists Association, the Turkish Heart Foundation, the Turkish Society of Cardiology, the Turkish Liver Foundation, and the Life Health and Social Services Foundation, but also civil society organizations (CSOs) from various sectors, including the Istanbul Traffic Foundation, the Traffic Accidents Prevention Association of Turkey, the Consumers Union, the Federation of Consumer Organizations, and the Health and Food Safety Movement. In addition to the civil organizations, the public bodies like the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Public Health Agency of Turkey, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, and the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Agency take part in the platform.