Turkey’s state-owned tea production company has been fined over a TV commercial deemed insulting “ayran”, the country’s yoghurt-based “national drink”, by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In the commercial for “Didi”, a popular iced tea product made by state-owned Caykur, Turkish rap star Ceza sings: “I’ve tried ayran, it makes me sleepy.”
Turkey’s trade ministry ordered Caykur to pay 220,000 Turkish liras ($75,000, 70,250 euros) for “insulting ayran without a reason and giving consumers a wrong message aimed at decreasing the consumption of ayran”. The company was also ordered to stop airing the ad, which the ministry said constituted “unfair competition against companies that sell ayran,” Hurriyet newspaper reported on Sunday.
Erdogan, a devout Muslim who does not smoke or drink, has urged people to imbibe the frothy, salted beverage and declared it in 2013 the “national drink” of Turkey rather than raki, a strong aniseed-flavoured liquor. The authorities are accused of setting up a cult of personality around Erdogan, who became president last year after over a decade as prime minister. The number of prosecutions for “insulting” the head of state have risen since he became the president. Artists, journalists and schoolchildren have all been targeted. (AFP)