ANKARA, Turkey – He snatched away their cigarette packets and made them promise to quit.
On Tuesday, Turkey's forceful President Recep Tayip Erdogan hosted a reception for some 300 people who have quit smoking, including 18 people whom he has personally persuaded to give up.
Strongly averse to smoking, Erdogan is known to persuade people to stop lighting up by taking away their cigarettes packets. The state-run Anadolu Agency said some of the packets, featuring their former owners' names, were displayed at the reception.
Erdogan told his guests: "There can be no such freedom as the freedom to smoke."
Turkey banned indoor public smoking in 2009 and Erdogan has been leading a government drive to reduce smoking rates in the nation of heavy smokers.