Death toll from bootleg alcohol rises to 44 across Turkey
Turkish security units have increased inspections and raids on ethyl alcohol producers and sellers after 44 people died of bootleg alcohol in seven provinces and dozens of others hospitalized over the past two weeks.
In the western province of İzmir where the first deaths were reported, the number of people who died rose to 18, putting the province at the top of the list.
A warehouse, residence and five workplaces have been subsequently raided and 12 suspects have been detained in the province.
A person died from consuming bootleg alcohol in Istanbul, bringing the death toll to seven in the metropolis.
Hakkı Oğuzhan Şahinoğlu, 36, died after drinking homemade liquor made with methyl alcohol.
Three people who bought methyl alcohol from the same source, made and drank illegal alcohol are also being treated at a hospital. Two of them are intubated.
Police have also detained three suspects over the sale of methyl alcohol.
So far, 18 other people have died from poisoning after consuming bootleg alcohol in five other provinces since Oct. 9.
Around seven in Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale, six in the southern province of Mersin, two in the southwestern province of Muğla, two in the western province of Aydın and one in the Black Sea province of Trabzon have died due to counterfreit alcohol.
Illegally produced liquor is often laced with methanol, which causes permanent blindness, metabolic disturbances and even death.
Police has been raiding all suspected markets, warehouses and houses since the first news of death.
On Oct. 13, Turkish forces seized 9,335 liters of bootleg ethyl alcohol from three separate locations.
Provincial police teams have conducted an operation in the Avcılar district of Istanbul in connection with a recent poisoning in the southern province of Mersin.
They have seized six tons of illicit alcohol and some material used in its making and rounded up three suspects.
After speculations, police raided a warehouse in the Arnavutköy district of the metropolis. As security units detected two suspects entering and exiting the warehouses too often, they raided in and seized 1,975 liters of bootleg alcohol.
Separately, security units launched an operation in the Yüreğir district of the southern province of Adana and seized 1,360 liters of ethyl alcohol. A suspect has been detained by the police.
A Turkish official has vowed to intensify efforts to combat the production and sale of bootleg alcohol.
“There will be more inspections,” said Yavuz Selim Köşger, the governor of İzmir province.
“A lot of bootleg alcohol and related material have been seized. Security forces raid places where they believe such activities are carried out.”
Köşger has urged the public not to buy alcohol from illegal or unauthorized dealers.