Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday was presented by the World Health Organization with an award for his contributions to struggle against smoking at a global scale.
"This award is going to add a fresh momentum and excitement to our fight against smoking. And it would boost support for the anti-smoking ban. Turkey is no more a country that goes with the saying 'Smokes like Turk'," Erdogan told a ceremony where he was presented with WHO Director-General Special Recognition Awards in tobacco control.
Erdogan said his government's banning smoking in closed public places made Turkey one of the countries to have the most sensitive anti-smoking policy in Europe, adding that the ban had made a remarkable impact in reducing consumption of tobacco products.
"Cigarette sales have dropped significantly in January-March 2010 over the same period in 2008. Our people have saved 1.5 billion Turkish liras by not smoking. Also, statistics show that cases of respiratory diseases have fallen 30 percent which marked a 100 million TL saving in health expenditures," Erdogan said.
The Turkish premier said it was among government's top priorities to defend rights of non-smokers to avoid exposure to smoking, which would otherwise be a fundamental breach of basic human rights.
"There is no reason to interpret in any other way government's determination on this issue. Because no one has the right to claim on someone else's right to health," Erdogan said.
"And I believe that the Constitutional Court would reach a fitting decision," he said.
Erdogan was referring to a case filed at the country's highest court for the annulment of extensive smoking ban in the country, which went into effect in July last year in bars, cafes and restaurants as a follow up to an earlier ban in offices, public transport, shopping malls, schools, hospitals and other public places in May 2008.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2010, 15:37