Thousands of bootleg alcohol bottles destroyed in Turkey
Çetin Aydın - ISTANBUL
DHA PhotoTurkish police have destroyed 13,000 bottles of bootleg alcohol and 2.5 million packets of smuggled cigarettes seized in operations staged since August this year.
Police seized the contraband cigarettes in operations across Turkey since August, while they seized the bootleg alcohol in operations since October, when dozens of people in Istanbul started to die after drinking bootleg alcohol.
All seized cigarettes and alcohol have been destroyed by the police, according to reports.
At least 28 people are determined to have died from counterfeit alcohol in Istanbul since October. News first emerged in late October that 12 people had died from drinking bootleg rakı, a Turkish liquor made of anise, prompting police to launch operations in four Istanbul districts.
The side effects of the tainted alcohol included delirium, severe stomachache, vomiting and sight impairment.
Police have so far detained more than 20 people in relation to the case, including suspected producers, suppliers, and sellers. Suspects have been charged with homicide with possible intent.
On Nov. 8, four people were arrested by a local court in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya for ties to the production and sale of bootleg alcohol.
An Antalya court ruled for the arrest of the four suspects, identified only by their initials M.A, Ş.Ç, İ.Y. and M.M., who were among six suspects detained in the city after 560 bottles of bootleg alcohol were seized by police.
The two other suspects were released by the court pending trial.
On Nov. 7, Antalya police seized 560 bottles of bootleg alcohol as well as many empty bottles ready to be filled with counterfeit alcohol.
In addition, two tons of bottled bootleg alcohol were seized in an operation in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ on Nov. 5.
The smuggling and organized crimes unit officers of the police department in Tekirdağ’s Çorlu district confiscated two tons of bottled fake drinks after raiding a farm in the Türkgücü neighborhood of Çorlu.
The owner of the farm, identified only as Sabit M., was detained after the raid.
The operation came less than a week after a previous raid in which 2.5 tons of bootleg drinks were confiscated in two separate homes.