Turkey cracks down on illicit alcohol as deaths climb

At least 44 people have died after drinking bootleg alcohol in Turkey after being hospitalised with symptoms of poisoning, prompting a national crackdown on the illicit trade.

The deaths have occurred in seven Turkish provinces, but the worst affected is Izmir, where at least 18 people have died, according to local media reports. Raids have taken place at various locations – including a warehouse, residence and several workplaces – as part of the investigations into the outbreak.

Dozens of other people have been hospitalised by the bootleg alcohol, thought to be contaminated with methanol, a chemical that can cause serious side effects including blindness and paralysis.

Starting on November 1, selling large quantities of ethyl alcohol to private individuals will be banned in an attempt to curb bootleg liquor production.

Fatal incidents involving alcohol have been occurring regularly in Turkey in the last few years, thought to be related at least in part to rising taxes in alcoholic beverages that have hiked prices.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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