Bootleg rakı costs Turkey over $ 250 million in three years

Turkey has lost over $250 million since 2016 in the bootleg production of rakı, the country’s national drink, whose underground production has been on a sharp rise after tax hikes of alcoholic drinks, Sözcü said on Tuesday.

Turkish companies have produced some 32 million litres of rakı legally in the last three years, while the bootleg production has risen to 8 million litres that amount to over $250 million loss for the state, Sözcü said.

Tariffs on alcohol have increased steadily under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. All advertising, promotion and sponsorship of alcohol and tobacco products have been banned since 2013.

Rising alcohol prices are increasingly pushing Turks to consume bootleg spirits , which have claimed several lives.

The aniseed-flavoured liquor now costs around 150 liras ($25) for 70 cl, 65 percent of which is tax, as the minimum wage in Turkey is 2,020 liras ($340) a month.