Amid soaring liquor prices, bootleg alcohol kills dozens in Turkey

Bootleg alcohol has claimed the lives of 61 people in 12 days in Turkey, as prices of liquor continue to skyrocket in the country.

Duvar English 

Bootleg alcohol has claimed the lives of 61 people in 12 days in Turkey amid soaring liquor prices. 

The deaths took place in 17 provinces and security forces have ramped up their operations to seize bootleg alcohol. 

The most recent deaths occurred in the Black Sea province of Ordu's Fatsa district. 

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Chamber of Chemical Engineers said that the sky-high taxes on liquor should be lifted in order to prevent further deaths. 

Ali Nar, the chamber's Ankara head, said that the number of deaths caused by bootleg alcohol increased this year because of high prices. 

"People tend to buy cheap products without questioning whether they're safe or not. The fact that liquor prices are high pushes people towards under-the-counter products," Nar told Voice of America's Turkish service. 

"The state should decrease taxes so that people don't go looking for cheap products," he added.  

Turkey's Liquor Stores Platform head Özgür Aybaş said that the price hikes are caused by the lira's downfall. 

"Unfortunately, the price increases will continue and so are the deaths," Aybaş said. 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Gürsel Tekin called on authorities to act to decrease liquor prices to prevent deaths. 

"The main cause of these deaths is the increasing Special Consumption Tax [ÖTV]. It's not the duty of those consuming alcohol to cover for the budget deficits," Tekin said. 

Another CHP deputy, Burhanettin Bulut, said that urgent measures need to be adopted.