Twenty-two people died this week in İstanbul out of 46 who were hospitalized after drinking a bad batch of bootleg alcohol, the İstanbul Governor’s Office announced on Friday.
The governor’s office said 16 people were still in the hospital, and 14 suspects had been arrested as part of 56 operations against bootleg alcohol producers between Nov. 16 and Dec. 16.
Read Also: WHO added ninth COVID-19 vaccine to list of emergency vaccines
Because President Recep Tayyip Erdoan’s Islamic-rooted party opposes alcohol consumption, bootleg liquor production has increased as a result of steady increases in spirits taxes.
In the supermarket, rak, Turkey’s national beverage, costs around 250 Turkish lira ($16.5) per liter, or about a tenth of the monthly net minimum wage.
Instead of ethanol, which is usually used for human consumption, bootleg alcohol is sometimes mixed with methanol, a more toxic substance used by industry.
Police raids at 342 locations yielded over 30,000 liters (8,000 gallons) of counterfeit and bootleg alcohol, according to the Turkish Interior Ministry.
Toward the end of 2020, more than 40 people in Turkey died of alcohol poisoning in less than a week.