Bootleg alcohol claims 12 lives within 10 days in Turkey amid soaring liquor prices

Some 12 people died from consuming bootleg liquor they purchased on June 24 in the western province of Tekirdağ. Six suspects were arrested in relation to the liquor sales, and they claimed that they'd smuggled in the liquor from the nearby Bulgarian border.

Duvar English

The number of people who died from bootleg alcohol they purchased rose to 12 in the western Tekirdağ province's Çorlu district on July 6.

Some 30 people were poisoned with the bootleg alcohol they purchased since June 24 in the province, and six people were detained in relation to the sales. 

The suspects had claimed that they smuggled the alcohol in from the nearby Bulgarian border, and Metin Dobrucalı, Kudret Uygur, Cengiz Girgin, Vedat Vatansever, Hüseyin Coşkun and Süleyman Malkoç were eventually arrested for the crime.

Some 11 of the poisoned patients were treated and discharged, while seven people remain in intensive care, with two of them requiring intubation.

Twenty-four-year-old Vedat Bektaş and 60-year-old Ahmet Ataman died on July 6, bringing the death toll up to 12 in the western province alongside Pakistan-national Ikhlague Hussam, Emin Kırcaali, Mehmet Pamukçu, Sadık Akın Usal, Altuğ Oktay, Turan Vardı, Remzi Zabınoğlu, Nurcihan Engin, Levent Engin and Hasan Nişancı.

The recent dramatic devaluation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies increased the price of imported liquors in the country, and the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) extensive taxing of alcoholic beverages put domestic drinks at extravagant price points as well. 

The AKP also banned alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic on grounds of preventing the spread of coronavirus, prompting nationwide outrage among consumers.