Istanbul man loses friends, eye to bootlegged alcohol
Gülden Aydın – ISTANBULA 66-year-old Istanbul man is beginning to recover after an incident with bootlegged alcohol claimed one of his eyes – as well as two of his best friends.
“I was drinking for seven years but nothing happened before. I think they got the concoction wrong this time,” said Mehmet Küçükgümülcina, a retiree.
Küçükgümülcina went to the same shop for years alongside Hikmet Kirs, 67, and Musa Gökbulut, 52.
On Feb. 28, however, the trio fell ill due to alcohol poisoning from the bootlegged alcohol. Kirs died on March 1, while Gökbulut died the following day. Küçükgümülcina, meanwhile, was taken to an intensive care unit, where he ultimately lost an eye.
“When I woke up on the night of March 2, I fell down. I couldn’t see anything. I could not use my legs either. My wife called an ambulance … The paramedics were able to get to me early,” he added.
Küçükgümülcina fought for his life for five days in the intensive care unit. Even after his release from hospital, he continues to have difficulty walking and talking.
The man said he only learned the reason for Kirs and Gökbulut’s deaths when police raided the shop.
“When Hikmet worsened, they took him to hospital with difficulty. His heart stopped twice. But the third time, they couldn’t save him. His family and I did not know why Hikmet had died. I learned the reason when police raided the shop and detained the seller of the bootlegged alcohol,” he said.
Küçükgümülcina said he had not touched any bootlegged alcohol since being discharged from hospital.
He also remarked that they could not afford original alcohol due to their low income.
“He sells a 20cl bottle for 5 Turkish Liras to us. But if he doesn’t know the buyers, he sells it to them for 7 Turkish liras. It was our only joy. Now, I have to drink original alcohol once a month when I get my pension,” he added.