Teenage Issues

Information on some of the issues which affect young people including teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use and the laws surrounding them in Turkey...

Teenagers in Turkey are affected by similar issues as young people in other countries. In general, there is access to advice on drugs, alcohol and sexual health for teenagers, and various organisations can help if a young person finds themself in trouble.

Youth Alcohol Laws

Youth alcoholism has become a major problem in Turkey with an increase in consumption and the addiction rate as a result of changes in society.

In the relevant regulation "youth" is specified as age 15 to 18 years. It is illegal to sell alcohol to people under the age of 18 (contravention is punishable by a fine). Police regularly check bars, nightclubs and places where alcohol is sold.

In 2011, a law was passed that restricted the sale of alcohol to anyone under 24 at certain events and at particular times of night. The law was repealed the same year.

Driving drunk is subject to significant fines and sanctions. Police make regular checks in crowded city streets at night.

There are programmes and websites for teenagers and their families with information on the harm caused by alcohol.

  • For information on the dangers of alcohol and the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism: Click here (in Turkish)
  • For Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings in English: Click here and select "Meetings in English"

Drugs

Although the sale and use of drugs is strictly forbidden in Turkey, recent years have seen increased cases of drug addiction in teenagers and youth, with drug use becoming a major problem.

The Ministry of Health (sağlık Bakanlığı) has introduced plans to prevent, control and reduce the number of drug addicts.

The Turkey Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (TUBIM) (an initiative of the Ministry of the Interior) is collecting data and preparing strategies to fight the use of drugs and addictive substances, and of substance abuse.

  • Information on dealing with drug and alcohol addiction in Turkey: Click here (in Turkish)
  • For Narcotic Anonymous (NA) meetings: Click here

Teenage Pregnancy

Rural Turkey has a high teenage pregnancy rate, far higher than in the urban areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly two percent of girls in Turkey age 15 to 19 are pregnant with their first child. Programmes put in place by state and private organisations aim to familiarise youth with modern methods of contraception.

  • For WHO's assessment of pregnancy in Turkey: Click here (PDF)

A pregnancy may be terminated within the first 10 weeks. Unmarried women from the age of 18 may choose to have an abortion; unmarried girls under 18 years need the consent of their parents while married women must have their husband's consent to abort a pregnancy.

  • For information on abortion in Turkey: Click here (in Turkish)