Bootleg alcohol kills one in western Turkey

Bootleg alcohol kills one in western Turkey

AYDIN – Doğan News Agency
Bootleg alcohol kills one in western Turkey

File photo from a bootleg alcohol operation in southeastern Gaziantep province on Feb. 26, 2016. AA Photo

One man has died and another was hospitalized after allegedly consuming bootleg alcohol in the Söke district of the western province of Aydın on March 8. 

Ertuğrul Şen, 58, died after he and a friend, 60-year-old Selahattin Serbest, met at the latter’s grocery shop to drink rakı, an anise-based alcoholic drink popular in Turkey. 

After consuming the beverage without knowing its source, the duo headed to their respective homes. Şen’s son, however, realized that his father was no longer breathing when he entered his father’s room. 

Health teams arriving at the scene confirmed Şen’s death, while Serbest was hospitalized after losing consciousness at home. Serbest was taken to Adnan Menderes University Research Hospital, where he remains in critical condition, suffering from vision problems along with other symptoms.

Şen was buried in the Burunköy Neighborhood Cemetery after an autopsy while police launched an investigation into the incident.

The rising price of certified alcohol in Turkey is believed to encourage bootleg alcohol consumption. There was a spate of deaths in late 2015 in western Turkey due to poisoning from unlicensed alcohol.

Tax hikes on alcohol in recent years have been slammed by alcohol distributors and critics of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) alike, with many claiming they are part of a bid to impose conservative Islamic restrictions on Turkish society.