More than 5,000 liters of bootleg booze seized in Turkey’s northwest
DHA PhotoThousands of liters of bootleg alcohol have been seized in a police raid of an illegal production facility in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Tekirdağ Police Department Smuggling and Organized Crimes Unit officers seized 5,260 liters of bootleg booze bottled in plastic barrels and glass jars on Dec. 2 after they raided an illegal production facility in the Hürriyet neighborhood in Süleymanpaşa, a district in Tekirdağ.
A suspect identified as M.U. was detained during the raid, but was later released. The suspect said in his testimony he had been producing the alcohol for his own use.
Turkish authorities have stepped up preemptive measures against bootleg alcohol poisoning, with police raids of bootleg production facilities as well as the arrests and detentions of suspects implicated in deaths related to bootleg alcohol.
In the Aegean province of İzmir, the number of people who have died from bootleg alcohol poisoning has risen to eight, Doğan News Agency reported on Dec. 1.
A number of deaths have also occurred in Istanbul in recent months as a result of bootleg alcohol.
A friend of a bootleg rakı victim Ömer Akgün Yüngeliş said rising prices were encouraging bootleg alcohol consumption.
Mehmet Yılmaz Durgun, Yüngeliş’s flat mate, said he would continue to drink illicit alcohol despite the risks, as he said he could not afford legally produced alcohol.
“Labelled rakı is very expensive. It costs 50 [Turkish] Liras while bootleg rakı costs 10 liras. I have been drinking illicit rakı for four years. The high prices of alcohol force people into buying these bootleg drinks,” Durgun said.
“I will drink it again because I only earn 50 liras a day. I can’t buy a bottle of rakı with that,” he added.
Tax hikes on alcohol over 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.