Turkey’s Erdogan slams doctors for smoking, drinking habits

Speaking at an Iftar held by the Turkish Green Crescent Erdogan described the members of the medical community questioned as ‘so-called scientists’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed doctors who advise their patients to refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol while they smoke and drink themselves, Turkey’s Sunday’s Zaman newspaper reported on Saturday.

Speaking at an iftar held by the Turkish Green Crescent – which fights drug addiction, smoking and alcohol – Erdogan described the members of the medical community questioned as “so-called scientists.”

“Some so-called scientists, scholars, mighty professors, you see, they smoke, they gulp down alcohol. When you talk to them, they defend it [alcohol consumption and smoking] but when someone goes to them with heart, kidney -- and what have you -- problems, they tell them to quit smoking or alcohol, “he was quoted by Sunday’s Zaman as saying.

“You should not defend [alcohol and smoking] at other times then. You should state this clearly so that we will not end up massacring humanity,” the president said.

He also said that Islamic norms which ban alcohol consumption and smoking are important in raising awareness on the matter.

“A Muslim can have nothing to do with drugs, alcohol or gambling. I consider smoking in the same way too,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan has been a staunch opponent of alcohol. During his time as prime minister, he was persistent in restricting alcohol sales, driving concerns that he seeks to implement a more conservative and Islamic lifestyle on Turks.

“There have been those who criticized me since I made my position clear in TV programs, despite Article 58 of the Constitution,” Erdogan said, in reference to the provision that created an obligation for states to take necessary measures to protect the youth from alcohol, drug addictions as well as “crime, gambling and other bad habits and ignorance.”

“But I was not and will not be deterred from pursuing my struggle,” he added, according to Sunday’s Zaman.

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