Order a bottle

Now that three German boys have died of alcohol poisoning in Turkey, the news has made it into the western media. But here in Turkey it is an ongoing problem: alcohol is mixed with the deadly methanol, which leads to dozens of deaths every year. And no, it’s not a matter of bottles that could easily be recognised as containing bad stuff: it comes in normal vodka or rakı bottles which have been refilled, and it can be served in respectable-looking hotels. The German boys, for example, drank it in their hotel, and although it’s uncertain what exactly happened, the manager of the hotel and two others were arrested.
So, is there nothing you can do to protect yourself from dropping dead after a few drinks? Of course there is. If you buy booze yourself, get it from a Tekel shop (small kiosk on the street, also selling tobacco, candy bars, water, lighters, things like that) or from a big supermarket, like Migros or Tansas. When you order rakı in a restaurant, order a whole bottle (35 or 70 cl), and make sure it’s opened at the table. Especially in tourist areas where competition is tough and profit margins are small, you should be careful. Want only one glass of rakı? Even though that would be an unlikely and rather weird thing, then don’t get it in some sleazy bar or worn-out hotel – one glass of the stuff probably won’t lead to death, but methanol can make you blind too. And usually, after one glass of rakı, you want another one anyway. It’s safer to just order a bottle. Şerefe!

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