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7 TONS of bootleg liquor seized in Turkey as moonshine kills over 40 people in just one week

Turkey has launched a nationwide crackdown on bootleg alcohol after a jump in the number of deaths caused by poisoning across the country. More and more Turks are opting for illegal brews after liquor taxes rose sharply.

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Turkish law enforcement confiscated 7,360 liters of illegally produced ethyl alcohol from two separate locations as part of an investigation into a recent case of alcohol poisoning, state media reported on Tuesday.

In Istanbul, police discovered six tons of bootleg booze and arrested three suspects. In a joint operation carried out in the southern Adana province, 1,360 liters of ethyl alcohol were uncovered, leading to the arrest of one suspected bootlegger.

Over the past few days, nearly 60 people have been arrested for producing and selling moonshine. Over 40 people have died from alcohol poisoning, and scores were hospitalized in the past week across the country, local media reported. According to the Interior Ministry, the deaths were caused by the ethyl-based surface cleaners mixed into the home-made brewing.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party, which has championed conservative, Islamist-rooted policies, has slapped high taxes on alcohol. In July, the government hiked taxes on alcoholic beverages by a further 6.9 percent. Turkey raised consumption taxes on alcoholic beverages by 13.48 percent in 2019, following a 15.5 percent price hike on liquor in July 2018. 

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