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Adulterated alcohol poisoning in Turkey

At least 25 people have died and 20 others injured in Turkey after recently drinking adulterated and smuggled alcohol.

Seven victims died in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul — including at least three foreign nationals — according to state media.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry said it had conducted a number of raids across several Turkish provinces and seized more than 30,000 litres of counterfeit alcohol.

Sixty people were also arrested after searches at 342 separate addresses, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The raids targeted criminal groups who “want to endanger public health by putting fake or illegal liquor on the market,” it added.

Among those addresses searched were illegal workshops and warehouses that had been used to sell the dangerous alcohol.

Deaths linked to adulterated alcohol are common in Turkey, as black market production increases amid exploding alcoholic taxes.

Raki — Turkey’s national alcoholic drink — costs around 250 lira (€15) per litre at the supermarket, almost 10% of the average net minimum wage.

Smuggled alcohol is sometimes spiked with methanol — an industrial-grade alcohol — instead of ethanol, which is usually for human consumption. By the end of 2020, more than 40 people had died in less than a week in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly taken a stance against alcohol and tobacco consumption.

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