Alcohol consumption is a significant part of Turkey’s food culture. But at least 22 people have died in Istanbul and 16 others have been hospitalized and are in serious condition after drinking bootleg alcohol this week. Eleven of the dead, and five of those who had fallen ill were foreign national. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the deaths. Authorities have launched a nationwide operation to crackdown on bootleg alcohol production, conducting raids on about 300 locations. Deaths from bootleg alcohol aren’t uncommon in Turkey.People seek to buy cheaper drinks or turn to homemade booze. Rising inflation and the government’s taxes and regulation of alcohol consumption forced prices to increase. Counterfeit drinks across Turkey ahead of New Year’s celebrations is a danger. On Thursday, the state-run Anadolu Agency said 26 people were killed in the past four days from methanol alcohol poisoning in nine Turkish provinces.
Methanol is a nondrinking type of alcohol used for industrial and automotive purposes. Symptoms of poisoning may include breathing difficulty or even no breathing, complete or partial blindness, low blood pressure, confusion and agitation, headache, seizures, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, leg cramps, fatigue and finally coma. 60 to 240 milliliters of methanol can be deadly for an adult. Blindness is common and often permanent despite medical care. How well the person does depends on how soon treatment is received, including dialysis.