ASHGABAT (TCA) — A new law has come into effect in Turkmenistan that will sharply limit alcohol sales in the tightly controlled Central Asian country, RFE/RL reports.
As of January 1, alcohol in the predominantly Muslim country will be forbidden on trains, airplanes, and ferry boats as well as at sports facilities.
The country of some 5.6 million people will also prohibit the sale of alcohol on national holidays.
Alcoholic drinks are further set to be banned on Saturdays and Sundays in all places except bars and restaurants as of 2021.
Currently in the throes of a severe economic crisis with high unemployment and inflation as well as rampant shortages of food items, Turkmenistan is ruled by authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who fashions himself an athlete who excels at many different sports.
Berdymukhammedov frequently exhorts Turkmen citizens to engage in sports, and has pledged to make the country tobacco-free by 2025.
In his New Year address to the Turkmen nation, President Berdymukhammedov said that a number of the state programs aimed at the development and bringing of health protection, sport, science and education spheres to a new level are implemented in the country, Turkmen state media reported. “We will continue developing and modernizing the health protection system. Special attention will be paid to the assertion of a healthy life style in the society,” the President said.
He also mentioned that the United Nations General Assembly declared June 3 as the World Bicycle Day at the initiative of Turkmenistan, adding that “we will pay great attention to the development of sports in new year”.