Turkey increases alcohol tax by over 17 percent

Turkey on Monday raised consumption taxes on alcoholic beverages by 17.07 percent, Birgün newspaper reported, hours after the announcement of a rise in the consumer price inflation rate.

An average 70 cc bottle of the anise-flavored traditional alcoholic drink rakı will be subject to326.99 liras($ 44.55) in taxes, up from the previous  279.29 liras, it said.

Meanwhile, the tax on a 50 cc can of beer has increased from  2.04 to 2.39 liras ($ 0.32).

Taxes on wines containing 18 percent or less alcohol have been increased from 81.38 to 95.29 liras  ($12.85) while wines containing 22 percent or more alcohol will see a tax hike from 279.29 to 326.99 liras. ($ 44.14)

The tax hike arrives as Turkey’s consumer price inflation rate, announced earlier on Monday, rose to 14.6 percent in December, exceeding economists’ estimates with a third consecutive month of increase.

Turkey implements tax hikes in alcoholic beverages twice a year  in line with its share in the domestic producer price index.

Rising alcohol prices in Turkey, caused largely by higher taxes, have pushed Turks to produce and consume more counterfeit spirits in recent years. This has caused a rise in alcohol poisoning cases as more people turned to black market alternatives.

On Saturday, the chairman of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) urged the government to shelve tax hikes on alcoholic beverages in 2021 in bid to stem the increasing number of bootleg alcohol deaths across the country.

Since October, over 90 people in Turkey have died of poisoning from bootleg alcohol.