Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday ordered a senior regional party official to resign after pictures apparently showed him drinking alcohol, AFP reported.
Mustafa Celebi, the head of the AKP in a district of the southwestern Mugla province, can be seen in photos posted on social media drinking alcohol with two colleagues, according to the website of the Hurriyet daily.
Drinking alcohol is legal in Turkey and beers, wines and spirits are easily available especially in Istanbul, Ankara and the coastal resorts.
However, the Islamic-rooted AKP takes a dim view of drinking.
Erdogan, who last week declared his candidacy for the presidential election on August 10, neither drinks nor smokes. All party officials are expected to do the same, as practicing Muslims.
Last year, the Turkish Parliament’s General Assembly adopted Erdogan’s party’s bill which tightens restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages.
According to the law, retailers will no longer be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and cannot sell alcohol in the vicinity of a house of worship or schools.
Hurriyet said the AKP sent an official from the neighboring Izmir province, to investigate the claims against Celebi, and the recommendation to order his resignation was made to AKP deputy leader Suleyman Soylu.
Soylu agreed that Celebi should resign and he is expected to quit early next week, according to AFP.
The majority of Turks do not drink but a significant minority does and vehemently protect their right to drink alcohol.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)