There’s a one-litre bottle of raki in my cupboard. It’s been there for at least three years now, and I never even considered opening it. Actually, I have now decided to keep it to get rich.
I love raki, the Turkish national aniseed-flavoured drink. But raki is not like wine or whisky, drinks that you just drink at night alone or with friends. Raki, my dear readers, needs a table. That means: you drink it with mezeler (small starters) and with fish. So when I drink raki, it’s always in a restaurant, with nice people and a good Istanbul night life atmosphere around me. This bottle at home will never be opened.
A pity? Absolutely not! The government just decided to raise the tax on alcohol , and it’s not the first time since the AKP has been in power. They don’t like alcohol, and make it more and more expensive, just like tobacco – as if the two are equally harmful. A litre bottle of raki now costs around 50 lira (25 euros). I don’t remember how much the bottle was when I bought it, but definitely a whole lot less.
There are elections in Turkey this year, and there is a good chance the AKP will stay in power in their own right. Which means in the coming years the price of raki will go up and up again and again. This bottle in my cupboard will turn out to be a great investment.
>> as if the two are equally harmful.
Comparing harms of different drugs is difficult. The chart given below, from a study that tried to approximate the overall harm of drugs, suggests that alcohol might be slightly more harmful or approximately as harmful as tobacco.
It would also be nice to have specific numbers of the taxes in order to be able to assess how high the taxes really are.
According to the article below the tax is 16.22 TL per 0.7 lt raki. Which makes 23.17TL or 10.72euro per lt of raki.
In comparison in Netherlands the tax is 1504euro per hectoliter of pure alcohol or 15.04euro per litre of alcohol. Raki contains 0.45 alcohol. In case of raki the tax would be 6.77 per litre of raki.
But it is not even fair to make the comparison right now, because the real effect of the tax depends on the value of Turkish Lira. For example, right before the tax hike, the tax on raki was 12.47TL per 0.7 lt or 17.81TL per 1lt. Which is 8.24euro per lt of raki.
So the real effect of this new tax should be evaluated by the next tax increase, and the average real value of the tax should be calculated from now till then.