A political Turkish raki commercial gets viral 2023

Turkey celebrates its 100th anniversary on October 29. Yeni Raki, a local raki company, released a political ad before this critical event. Since the 2013 AKP alcohol advertising ban, the ad targets international audiences and the Turkish diaspora.

However, Turks and observers may see a subtext. How will you celebrate on that day? asks the commercial. As Turkey heads towards one of the most significant general elections on May 14, it was not the 100th-anniversary celebrations that came to mind, but the celebrations if the AKP loses after twenty years of government.

How will you celebrate that day?

The video is full of dance steps, smiling, and singing, but the most powerful part is when a woman declares she will celebrate by going back. It was seen as a message to all expat Turks, particularly those who left Turkey due to economic hardship and rising conservatism.

“‘When that day comes’ is the latest (bold) ad for Turkey’s alcohol brand, Yeni Raki, suggesting to the viewer it’s over the sheer joy of an opposition win in the upcoming elections but then reveals it’s actually celebrating the Republic’s centennial,” tweeted longtime Turkey observer Louis Fishman.

Another Twitter user noted that Yeni Raki released the commercial three weeks before the election, six months before the centennial celebrations.

AKP’s anti-alcohol and non-Muslim stance

In 2021, Nazli Ertan stated, “Ever since 2002, a string of laws and regulations adopted under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sought to make alcohol impossible to advertise and promote, expensive to drink, and unprofitable to sell.”

The 2002 Special Consumption Tax was the first restriction. Alcohol taxes rose to 48 percent. Hikes continued. According to The Independent, the alcohol tax rate exceeded 250 percent at the time of writing.

It prohibited alcohol ads in 2013 after limiting them in 2009. In 2013, the state banned alcohol sales after 10 pm. Alcohol cannot be sold 100 meters from a mosque or school.

The COVID-19 epidemic has tightened restrictions. Events have midnight curfews since 2021. The government planned to ban alcohol sales during the pandemic curfew.

With the release of the Yeni Raki commercial, #OGünGeldiğinde (When that day comes) trended on Twitter, which was expected given the history of restrictions. Dance emojis and AKP defeat wishes swamped Twitter.

The advertisement also showed a group of students rejoicing outside Bogazici University, where protests have been going on since February 2021 when the state selected a pro-government rector.

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