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Death toll of bootleg alcohol victims in Turkey rises to 61

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Sixty-one people have died after consuming bootleg alcohol across 17 Turkish provinces since Dec. 10, the İhlas news agency reported on Wednesday.

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

Rakı, the national beverage, costs around 250 Turkish lira ($20.32) per liter 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.

Dozens of people who have been allegedly involved in the production of the bootleg alcohol have been detained in police operations across the country.

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

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