Bootleg alcohol kills 25 in Turkey

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At least 25 people died in Turkey this week after drinking a bad batch of bootleg alcohol, as production soars owing to high taxes, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local media on Thursday.

The production of bootleg liquor has risen with the steady increase in taxes, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamic-rooted party disapproving of alcohol consumption.

Seven of the deaths occurred in İstanbul, the Haber Turk channel reported.

The national alcoholic drink raki costs around 250 Turkish lira ($16.5) per litre in the supermarket, or nearly a tenth of the monthly net minimum wage.

Bootleg alcohol is sometimes mixed with methanol — which is more toxic and used by industry — instead of ethanol, which is usually used for human consumption.

The Turkish interior ministry said police seized more than 30,000 liters (8,000 gallons) of counterfeit and bootleg alcohol after raids at 342 locations.

Sixty people were detained.

More than 40 people died in less than a week in Turkey towards the end of 2020.

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