Russians die from bootleg whiskey in Turkey

June 4, 2011 2:21 am 

ANKARA, June 3 — Some 20 Russian tourists in the popular Turkish Aegean resort of Bodrum were poisoned by fake whiskey called Mister Burdon, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday.

A group of Russian tourists in Turkey were reported to have been hospitalized over the weekend with symptoms of severe alcohol poisoning after a yacht tour organized by a local company. Three Russian women died after the tour.

The methyl alcohol content in the fake whiskey was three times higher than normal, the Ministry of Agriculture said in an official statement.

According to Turkish officials, a company called Jasmine imported the whiskey into Turkey from northern Cyprus. A company named Birlik GIDA based in Ankara sold about 12,000 bottles of the bogus whiskey at local markets.

Turkish police carried out an inspection at the place of registration of Birlik GIDA and determined the address was fictitious, Turkey's Haber Turk newspaper reported on Friday.

Tourists began registering symptoms of poisoning such as nausea and vomiting soon after returning from a yacht cruise organized for a group of more than 70 Russians. Some of the tourists were reported to have been losing consciousness.

"Turkey launched an investigation right after the accident occurred," the head of the Turkish Ministry for Culture and Tourism said to the Hurriyet daily. The perpetrators of poisoning "will suffer the most severe punishment," the minister said.

Russian prosecutors have also opened an investigation. All the cases of causing grievous bodily harm to Russians and the deaths will be checked. Russian prosecutors hope to conduct an investigation in Turkey.

On Tuesday, during a meeting of the Russian-Turkish working group, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism announced that they will take additional steps to assure tourist security at Turkish resorts.

For instance, local tourism companies will be obligated to inform tourists about places where they can buy quality alcohol and food.

The Turkish alcohol and tobacco watchdog will also carry out checks at all hotels and shops selling alcohol. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

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