Turkey, bootleg alcohol

More than 50 dead in Turkey from illegal alcohol consumption

Turkish police is increasing inspections of alcohol shops as deaths from adulterated alcohol continue rising.

There are already more than 50 deaths caused by illegal alcohol consumption in Turkey in the last week, while the Turkish police continue to carry out raids across the country to dismantle the networks for the production of adulterated alcohol made from methanol (methyl alcohol), a highly toxic substance causing blindness, liver damage, and death.

Only on Thursday the Turkish security forces confiscated some 12,000 liters of adulterated alcohol in operations carried out throughout the country, while the death toll has already reached 52. So far the province where the most deaths have been registered is İzmir, where since the October 9, 21 people have died from consuming illegal alcohol.

There have also been 10 deaths in Istanbul, in addition to other victims in provinces such as Mersin, Kırıkkale, Tekirdağ, Muğla, Aydın, Trabzon, Zonguldak … At the moment the Turkish police has arrested 227 suspects in operations against the production of illegal alcohol, 63 of whom remain in custody.

Among them is the leader of an organization dedicated to the production and distribution of adulterated alcohol, who had previously been arrested on similar charges. The suspect, identified by the acronym H.K., sold fraudulent alcohol to establishments across the country, and could be charged with injuries and even murder for the deaths caused by the drinks he distributed.

Adulterated alcohol bottles are sold with fake legal labels

The police has also stepped up inspections throughout Turkey at alcohol outlets to identify possible bottles with alcohol adulterated but sold with false labels identifying them with well-known brands. Behind these facts is the increase in the prices of legal alcohol; therefore many people access the illegal market to get bootleg alcohol, which is sold at cheaper prices.

However, to make this illegal alcohol in Turkey, methyl alcohol (methanol) is used to a greater or lesser extent, and it is much more toxic than ethyl alcohol. Methanol – which is used to make solvents, cleaning products and colognes – causes symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches or blurred vision, and experts warn that if left untreated within 72 hours it can lead to irreversible blindness or death.