Turkish media reports say at least 15 Turkmen labor migrants have died in Turkey after drinking what is believed to be counterfeit alcohol.
CNN Turk reported late on March 19 that 15 Turkmen workers died in five different Istanbul districts, while 60 others were hospitalized and are in grave condition after consuming the alcohol.
The Hurriyet newspaper reported 20 Turkmen citizens died after drinking bootleg alcohol.
The reports also say that Istanbul police arrested 11 people suspected of selling the contraband. Police reportedly confiscated counterfeit vodka and several unregistered guns and ammunition from the suspects.
A Turkmen national in Istanbul, who asked not to be named, told RFE/RL on March 19 that the deceased Turkmen's friends and relatives are facing bureaucratic hurdles while trying to repatriate the bodies. Also, according to the man, the situation is getting more complicated as many flights had been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.